Bassy - Love Vine
May 6, 2011
God save our gracious queen

May Day or Labour Day is ah special day on my calendar.

Ah started to wuk as ah Votes Clerk at Public Works on de fuss ah May, 1960. My pay was $ 2.60 ah day or fifty-two dollars ah month. Back den de fuss Monday in May was de holiday making it ah long weekend. Dat fuss Monday ting was deemed ah Hysterical wrong when de ULP took office in 2001, and so May day was corrected to de fuss day in May.{{more}} Did any ah de Trade Unions remembered this year? In my books, those were de good ole Colonial Days; Alexander Giles was de Administrator and head ah de Civil Service den. Giles succeeded Coutts who had some serious verbal battles wid Joshua. Joshua rode to hero’s fame when he insisted dat de British must go, starting wid Walter Flemming Coutts, dat was fifty-five years ago.

We had some powerful civil servants back den, local black guys; when ah say powerful ah mean loyal, honest, hard-wuking, role models. It would be unfair to go naming out people, but ah got to just name ah few to put tings in perspective. Names dat readily come to mind are: Johnny Alves, Sammy Joshua, Dennis Crichton, Moulton and Henry Williams and dey sister Mildred; Jaykey Jack, Ernest Laborde, Robbie Samuel, Frankie Thomas, ley me stop. Every ting was labeled Crown or Colonial e.g. Crown Attorney, Crown Surveyor, Colonial Post Master, Colonial Treasurer. My greatest fear in those days was de Colonial Auditors, headed by one Hugh Hamlet and ah team ah fren-sick auditors, Saville Cummings, Clem Iton, Beryl Baptiste et al. Dey uses to turn up unannounced to inspect yuh books; if yuh were ah Cashier, mek sure yuh not even ah penny short.

When ah wuk at PWD Stores gasing up de trucks, my gas tank was short very often, vapor-I say-shun and pilfer-I-say-shun. When ah see de Auditors coming, it was toilet here I come. Guv-ah-mint business was referred to as de Queen’s business, and men got fired foh ah postage stamp; civil servants went to jail foh stealing petty cash; today when public servants taking Guv-ah-mint money and squandering it buying KFC, politicians taking it mek joke in Par-liar-mint. Those stalwart wukers are all gone except foh ah couple ah dem around, Jus Edwards and Beryl Baptiste who still rallying.

This afternoon we said good-bye to Saville Cummings, he was 91 and followed closely behind Sir Fred Phillips who went at 94 late last year. Cummings was regarded as one ah de straightest men in de service, Mr Clean himself, Armin got to seckle foh Mr Clean No 2. Dey were ah special lot, ah different breed ah wukers. When we got Statehood in 1969 I had spent nine years or one-third ah me life as ah Colonial Civil Servant, not to mention my eighteen years ah growing up under Colonial-is-him. Ah got ah colonial education at Grammar School dat prepared young people to wuk in de Colonial civil service. Ah was ah Boy Scout, more Colonial-is-him,;ah never missed Queen’s birthday and Remembrance Day parades.

Ah looked forward to de regular visits from members ah de Royal Family; what ever happened to de fire-wuks on Guy Fox night? Back den ah was proud to be ah British Object oops, British Subject! Ah does still sing “God save our gracious Quenn” whenever it is played. In spite ah all ah dat brain washing, and Colonial men-tell-at-tea, I am 100 percent Vincy, ah luv me country, nobody could change dat. But ah cannot un-luv de wuk ethics and good practices ah learned from Colonial-is-him.

Ah looked at de Royal wedding last Fri-dey and ah remained glued to my TV. Fascinated wid de sight ah thousands upon thousands ah people, British, English, Irish and Scottish, black white, brown as dey line both sides ah de streets, cheering in celebration of ah rich Tradition, de wedding of de next King and Queen. Ah felt jealous ah de British and dey passion foh dey traditions; dey mek we look MT. We are yet to come up wid sum-ting or sum-one around which we could unite de country.

What we have is ah nation bitterly divided (pull-it-to-kill-he) down de middle. Too much hate and victim-I-say-shun. Yuh don’t have to be schooled under colonial-is-him to know dat if it is OK foh de three policemen who were found guilty of a serious crime and were dismissed, to be re-employed back in de force; den it should be just as OK foh de three teachers and de dispenser, who resigned to run wid de Awe-position foh ah seat in Par-liar-mint, did not win, to be re-employed.

Everybody needs ah second chance, so ah have nothing ‘gainst re-employing de young policemen who committed ah crime. Their crime is not wuss dan dem who raping de Treasury as Dis and Dat in de Guv-ah-mint. So please tell me what crime did dis-pen-sir Bowman and teachers Daniel, Thomas and Johnson commit. Who don’t hear will feel. King David did kill de one sheep foh his near-bah and he paid ah heavy fine. By de way Lie-Za say sum-buddy who went to de Royal Wedding send her ah video clipping ah our Prime Minister singing his heart out. When ah ask she way wrong wid dat, she say: “ de song was God Save our Gracious Queen”! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy.

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.