I was busy scouring the saucepan and would not have looked up if it hadn’t been for the flashing lights of the motorcycle outriders. We’d eaten seasoned rice with saltfish and ackee, the remains of which now stuck stubbornly to the bottom of the pot in a burnt and glutinous mush.
Following the outriders came a slow procession of vehicles, some 14 in all. We live in a cul-de-sac (dead-end street), so I amused by imagining them processing into gridlock when they turned into the dead end, then reversing one by one in as dignified a manner as they came in.
Who could it be, our VIP? Our street is well-connected, metaphorically at least, housing Ms Jamaican Broilers (Best Dressed Chicken!) and a Tru Juice heiress, but neither could justify a police escort.
It was the Prime Minister, the Honorable PJ Patterson, leader of the People’s National Party and of the country since 1992. He is now stepping down as party leader, and thus as Prime Minister, and the struggle to take his place has been the main political story for the past two months. In contrast, the press treats Patterson as a yesterday’s man and the words most associated with his leadership are tired, floundering, decrepit and moribund. Never mind that he’s the country’s longest-serving leader, what warms my heart are the stories of how, some 40 years ago, he helped out managing the Skatalites. I mean, let’s get this into perspective – the man still gets name-checked by the band. Bet he never got that at the Commonwealth Summit.
Back in our street, half the vehicles had backed up and parked on the scrubby patch of grass opposite my kitchen window. Fourteen cars, 14 years in power – hmmm – a fat Toyota Cygnus and two sleek Nissan Cefiros sitting next to lean-looking deportees, second-hand imports, one with a red “VIP pass” stuck lopsidedly to the windscreen.
“Honey”, I yelled. “There’s a metaphor parked outside the house.”
“Well, it can’t make the grass worse than it already is!” He shouted back.