suzanne-mills

 

I had but just got my feet through the door and I think managed to articulate that I was there to procure passport photos when the rebuke came: “You can’t take pictures out sleeveless.”

I was immediately annoyed. Here we go again with the inane dress rules.

But not this time. No, I said, these pixs are for a UK passport and they don’t include in their rules any absurd dress code.

“Are you certain? We know that in the US and in Canada, they don’t permit sleeveless photos.”

Great for the Puritans I thought, uncertain even that those countries were as morally moronic as ours.

I was delighted that at last I could stand my ground and I did so resolutely, my feet and body planted inflexibly, determined not to exit without taking “sleeveless” photographs.

“This isn’t Brexit. This is “Breat-in. Please take the photos.”

When I am ready for the T&T passport shots, I’ll dress to please the purely frivolous Puritans here.

I later scanned the photos and sent the form off online. Not a peep of protest from the UK government. Their specifications are designed to obtain a clear face shot.

Indeed, I am informed that in the UK they can’t ban their taxpayers entry to government offices if they are sleeveless. In summer, naturally.

We are so concerned with form that substance comes in a far, far second. I’ll have my UK passport in hand months before I can get my lost T&T passport replaced.

I had already reported the British passport lost to GOV.UK and was not required to submit a police report and certainly not have the form signed by a Commissioner of Affidavits, a make work programme if there ever was. Something in the vicinity of $50 a minute. Pure robbery. I’m thinking of becoming a commissioner. Easy money. A few scribbles, a signature and you hand over cash. As I did on the morning I went for my driver’s permit. With my shoulders (my best asset) covered.

The British public servants make their work simple and in so doing simplify the lives of their citizens. A passport reported lost is a passport cancelled. Who can use it? I know we’re called Trickidadians, but in Europe there are forgers more professional than we are. And why have machine readable passports if we cannot trust their reliability?

Form. No substance. I find it more worrying that I have to wait until February to get an appointment at the passport office. And that despite having made a report to West End police station, I still must have an affidavit. I’d have to be indeed criminal to go into a police station to report documents lost when they are still in hand. I’m bipolar, but not crazy.

Speaking of which, what’s what with respect to the Pastor, alleged to have had his unfortunate flock imprisoned in cages? Has he been charged? Or must he sign an affidavit swearing he possessed tasers? Form. No darn substance to us.

Gary boy, you can raid, but seems you are raiding in vein.

You swoop; they sweep it under the rug.

I swear. All you have to do in this country is pray to Jesus and you are good to go. Stick a Jesus on your cages and you won’t stand the bounce. Stick a Jesus on your bumper and bad drive everyone else to hell.

I became extraordinarily irritated when an incompetent cashier blamed Jesus for her innumeracy at a supermarket a few weeks ago.

“I forgot to say my prayers this morning,” she remarked, that retort aimed at me for becoming frustrated with her inability to read and count.

No, you forgot to pay attention in school. Or school forgot to pay attention to you. How Jesus get in this? When I mentioned the incident on Facebook, I was told to give her marks for at least admitting her sins. No. No way. Her sin wasn’t omitting her daily prayers. I never accused her of sinning. I accused her of incompetence. I was even willing to acknowledge that she wasn’t adequately trained. I was then accused of lacking “emperthy.”

I confess. I am guilty. I have empathy, but no “emperthy.”

And what about empathy for me? I’m the one who spent at least 15 minutes in line longer than was due? Is she more deserving of “emperthy” because she prays to Jesus and I don’t or won’t? I have however, read enough about Jesus to know he eschewed ignorance and that he spent time travelling and at the feet of his elders learning. He paid attention in class.

I am about as fed up of Jesus in this country as I am of silly dress codes. Jesus here, Jesus there. Jesus everywhere except in people’s hearts. Jesus on the mind. No Jesus in the grey matter. Spare me the Jesus. I’ll spare you the retort. In my view, all this Jesus is holding us back and down, permitting us to shift the blame on to his (no capitals) shoulders, instead of engaging in introspection and critical thinking.

Which brings me to a footnote. Don’t evangelise on my Facebook page. I’ll unfriend you. You believe in Jesus. Call his name on your FB page. Or pray to him and ask him to charge errant and cruel pastors who fleece the State, the mentally ill and pensioners.

As for nonsensical “no arm hole” rules, plug these and the omniscient potholes. Lordamercy!

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In time to come, when future generations write about us, about our behaviour during the great war against COVID-19, they may well resort to the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Tale of Two Cities, which was set in a tumultuous period in European and world history, 1775-1792.

When is an exemption to closed borders not an exemption after the borders are closed?

I will return to this riddle, but let me first note that the limited testing for COVID-19 has been expanded in obvious response to queries about its previous deficiencies.

I have been the severest critic of this administration for the past four-and-a-half years.

I have chastised them unrelentingly for their economic mismanagement that has taken the nation to the precipice, stranded in a fading energy sector and no new foreign revenue streams incubating; the national debt reaching an unsustainable $120 billion,

Just a few weeks ago it was possible for T&T’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, to indicate in a major speech, that the Caribbean as whole had a potentially very bright future as a major western hemisphere oil and gas supplier. He had good reason for saying so.

In response to my column of three weeks ago, “Black Betrayal”, a critic attacked me in a slanderous manner.

Mercifully, the Express deleted the more vitriolic aspects of his original letter.