#COVID19Chronicles-217: November 12, 2020-CCRP Living Legacy Award, Oliver Samuels

The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) held its annual Living Legacy Award yesterday in COVID19 fashion as a PBCJ TV and Facebook broadcast, not its traditional lunch and presentation ceremony. This year’s award went to Oliver Samuels for 50 years of entertainment; he turned 70 in 2018.

Watch the broadcast here:

He was also given gifts of tablets to donate by Ambassador Aloun Assamba, a former CCRP board member:

Many of us will have our favourite ‘Oliver at Large’ moments, but the TV shows meant more than that to me. My family and I watched his TV shows in England and they were another strand keeping us connected to Jamaica from a distance. His brand of humour was priceless and that cultural role was immeasurable. He is a fan favourite in the UK, where he tours, regularly.

I love ‘It must be a duppy’:

Flight 007 is another favourite episode and I’ve rewatched clips from it regularly over the past years:

I was also lucky enough to see Oliver perform in one of his plays on stage in Jamaica; belly cramp was well established.

Oliver recently lent his voice and style to the general hygiene messages about living with COVID19:

He also supported the living with COVID exercising and nutritional messages for senior citizens:

I don’t know if Oliver appreciates the legacy he gave those of us who were far from home, and the generations that followed. His mentor was Miss Lou and he has been mentor to many.

Art can’t beat life: Jamaican farce

I got a partial answer to my question about Jamaican satire: life’s too funny to need it acted out. Just a few random examples from recent weeks.

Just a few days ago, a clearly frustrated mayor of Savannah la Mar in western Jamaica, Bertel Moore, blurted out that police should now “shoot first then ask questions later” when dealing with suspected criminals. He’d reacted wildly to a fast growing problem of shootings and murders in his parish, Westmoreland. Jamaicans have not all lost their marbles, and many, including local police representatives quickly condemned his position. Jamaica already has an unenviable reputation for ‘extra judicial’ killings by the police. The Gleaner wrote a stinging editorial condemning the mayor. Jibes about the “wild West” soon shot out.

We had a prominent MP, Mr. WARmington, giving signature advice to environmentalists to “go to Hell” for their temerity In trying to urge that the environment be protected in considerations of where to locate a proposed logistics hub. Not warm, at all. Really, too charming, I’d have to say. The tranquil Goat Islands are not bringing out the best in people.

Ordinary people also have their moments of silliness everyday. We met a security guard at the hospital yesterday, who was so quick to flaunt her political colors–green for the Jamaica Labour Party, pointing to her coloured uniform badge. She had no time for our joking that we were former PNP prime minister, “Patterson, P.J.”; “Not my Prime Minister,” she boldly stated. Then she sang the praises of the current JLP (“Jamaica Loving Party”, she chanted) leader, Andrew Holness: “Andrew, all the way!”. She’ll do all she can to see he prevails in the coming battle for leadership, especially if she can vote as in other elections. She proudly declared that she’d voted five times at the last general election, dancing a gleeful little jig as she told us that. If she’s typical, it’s hard to understand how apparent low turnouts occur.

Not making light of the real tragedy, how do you not marvel at Kingston’s public bus company, Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), when a second bus burst into flames in a matter of two weeks? We’d heard that the first one did not carry working extinguishers, and passengers would be well advised to travel with water, just in case. I liked it that an on looker had to tell the bus driver that the back of bus was ablaze: locals know the buses often belch out a lot of smoke, so it would’ve been hard for the driver to notice.

This during the same time when several high schools decided to discipline students for not following dress codes by sending them home, or for lateness by locking them out of school. I hope they didn’t have to take one of the JUTC buses. Talk about wanting to fire up the youths.

Police this week searched the jail cell of Vybz Kartel, a well-known dance hall artiste, and found it had ‘contraband’–and that’s not a backing group. Naturally, the banned items included cell phones 🙂 Really? But, also thumb drives and DVDs. Where are the good old thumb screws, cigarettes, files and pliers?

Why make things up, when life offers such rich material? We clearly don’t need sketches on TV or theatre when we have brilliant comedy surrounding us. Now that YouTube is rampant, it would be better for the government to give every citizen a smartphone and let them record these incidents for submission to the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) could then circulate them with an official seal of ‘MAD in Jamaica’ and circulate them to the world. Have to think of innovative ways to sell brand Jamaica.

Laughs, please

I’ve said it before: Jamaica needs some serious satire. That may be an oxymoron, but no matter. A Caribbean version of ‘Spitting Image’ has to happen soon. As a region, we love to joke around. If you read Wikipedia, satire is at the heart of our humour. The political cartoons in Jamaica are very good. Clovis is cruel.20130914-145556.jpgBut, we need to take on politicians and others in the public limelight with more vigour. The gloves have to come off and let them have it squarely in the teeth.

The last few weeks have provided tonnes of material. You need to tackle any politicians who tells the environmental lobby to “go to Hell”, as Clifford Everald Errol Warmington did over the Goat Islands. Better still, he’s uttered it before, when he resigned as an MP and took it to a CVM anchorman. (I should be careful: I read that he won a seat against my namesake!) The man is gold.

The PM, this week, nearly burst into flames, when she accused some critics of potential foreign investors of xenophobia.

20130914-151125.jpgWe have the not-quite-on-yet leadership contest in the opposition political party. Leader Holness is often depicted as a baby in a nappy. C’mon! Work it up! We’ve had the overworked chicken back and oxtail and rice bowl eating of Agriculture Minster, Roger Clarke, who then lost completely his sense of decorum as he decided to try to do a piggy back over a very fluffy female supporter of his party.

The comics who get most attention, seem to steer clear of public figures. Is there too much reverence? Maybe. I think all should be treated the same. If they provide the material, then wrap it and send it back with a ribbing. Our heroes and heroines need to just watch out. DJs and songsters are game too. Imagine if Vybz Karkel and Queen Ifrica had faced the mockery.

Don’t let foreign TV company steal a march on us and get our stars to good it up in New york or LA. Get Usain to ham up his own style. ‘The Beast’ is injured, so let him do some other work and take on him fellow athletes.

Any budding writers and actors out there who can take this on?