Picong is ah Carry-Beyond Thing, Cultural like an Art-Form. It is like Picking on someone verbally of course, by calling him/her Nick-names, wid de intention “to Tease, to Heckle, to Humour, or even to Rub”. Picong is creative, has unlimited boundaries and has found its way in our Kaiso and Mas, very popular in Trinny Kaiso. In SVG it has found ah place in ‘Vincy Politicks’. During Elect-shun Calm Pain, ah lot ah Picong is used on de Pull-it-to-kill Rostrum.
And den after Elect-shun de Picong takes on a more graphic style, ah lot ah drama on de street. Ah remember how people uses to look forward to de celebrations after Elect-shun, way de winning side would taunt de losing side by parading thru de Villages and around de town, dancing wid locally made Effigies or images of de losing candidate hanging on ah Gallows, or holding ah “Mock Funeral” wid an MT (empty) Coffin displaying de Party or person’s name. Dah’s or was Picong at its best. Interestingly, ah doh recall seeing or hearing bout any groups ah revelers going beyond ah cemetery gate.
Cemeteries are considered Sacred Interment Space. Apart from Funerals de only other time there is an official ceremony wid ah procession wid candles and flowers, is on All Saints (Night), a Catholic Festival dat commemorates the church’s triumphant of Saints in Heaven. On this day in particular, Catholics pray for the dead. So really and truly any mock Funeral wid coffin, pall-bearers, mourners and persons in funeral wear, occupying dug grave and so on is an act of Desecration. And dis is something wid which Rev. Adolph Davis, superintendent of de Met-dis Church has serious issues. De good Rev gets into confrontations at Funeral procession wid loud music, where people, some wid bottle and glass in hand, are determined to dance Carnival Jouvert style thru de street, into de cemetery and at de graveside. Maybe Rev Davis does not know, but last Sun-dey while at ah Funeral in Mespo Met-dis Church, Lie-Za took me aside in de church-yard Cemetery, and showed me way someone (possibly ah mentally ill person) has turned one ah de graves into ah fireside wid three firestones (foh roasting breadfruit) hidden behind de tombstone of ah departed love-one. May I ask when did our Beloved Hairouna hit dis low level of morality?
Having said all of de above. Ah still love me Picong. And Soca Monarch Luta Mc Intosh, ah Master at Picong, was off to an early start last week-end when he held ah funeral foh de NDP even before de Elect-shun date is announced. De timing might ah bin a bit early, too early maybe. Now Luta’s team was parading wid ah yellow coffin and ah small military contingent containing pall bearers dressed in red beret and officers in dark green uniform. De Mock Funeral culminated inside de Kingstown Cemetery wid de Yellow (NDP) coffin placed on the lowering device of an open grave. Ah overs dat closeby, dey was ah second hole dat was dug in keeping wid Ole People Rule foh digging of hole and setting traps foh yu NME: “when yuh digging ah hole foh yuh NME, remember to dig one foh yo-self.”
Luta and his dramatists were only having fun, real Pull-it-to-kill Picong; but in our Carry-Beyond Civil-I-say-shun way respect foh even de departed loved ones is still treasured, what took place at de cemetery was ah defilement of an interment space; ah Spiritual Mockery, Desecration!
Talking bout Desecration, Maybe ah ought to tell de Mannie Millar story dat Henry Gaynes (my former friend) shared wid me. Mannie Miller was an Ole Time Carnival Band Leader. Ah year after he died, some of his loyal players decided to take de band down de Cemetery to give him ah visit. Singing de own Picong: “We going down by de Cemetery, to wake Mannie Miller early! ”De story tells about ah sad demise dat befell de six or so ring leaders, (one after de other) who dared to go sing by Mannie grave to wake him up.
Lie-Za ask me if ah noticed how de Picing Party looked like dey were scrambling to wind up de ceremony. She said dey actually heard ah voice dat sounded like dat of de PM in de NDP Yellow Coffin screaming: “No Grave can keep my darm body down!” And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.