It started with a phone call.
“Yuh hear about the terrorists? Some Trinidadians and a Guyanese wanted to blow up JFK.”
Shortly after that, an email hit my work inbox – a briefing from Exclusive Analysis, a political risk assessment firm based in London.
This was nothing out of the ordinary . Their daily missives keep me up to speed on the shambolic state of the world: rising instability in the Niger Delta, the increasingly glacial war of words between Moscow and Washington, the crackdown on opposition-owned Venezuelan media. That sort of thing.
But this time it was about Trinidad, about Guyana, about I region I consider my home.
Still, their assessment of “the uncovered terrorist plot” was interesting: the plot “illustrates a rising threat from home-grown but low capability terrorism”; “the group, allegedly led by a US citizen of Guyanese descent, Russell Defreitas, was apparently looking for financial support from a Trinidadian Islamic extremist group, Jamaat Al Muslimeen but was unable to do so”; “police believe that the capability of these individuals was low, as they had not been able to acquire either the training or explosives necessary to stage such an attack”; “experts have claimed that the damage that would have been caused by a successful attack would likely have been minor and not to the level envisaged by the perpetrators or that stated by US government officials after their arrest.”
In short, said they, don’t believe the hype. What hype? The breathless, bombastic Fox News-led coverage. Anything uttered by Patrick Manning in the aftermath of the arrests. You know, the usual.
No matter. Calm, rational examinations of the state of the world probably won’t stop T&T and Guyana from being summarily dumped onto the international blacklist. Already, the UK has issued a travel advisory for the islands, warning visitors of the risk of “indiscriminate terror attacks.”
I’ve given up on ever getting a US visa.
And then, of course, there was the cricket.
I quote Shane Warne:
I felt embarrassed for the West Indies at Headingley
As the FT noted this weekend:
That England ended the second day of the third Test in the ascendancy, 175 runs ahead with nine second innings wickets standing, was partly down to good late spells from Ryan Sidebottom and Monty Panesar, but more about another ghastly West Indies collapse.
Another ghastly West Indies collapse.
I fear that phrase may soon apply to more than just our performance in the international sporting arena. (Don’t get me started on the football.)
I fear this shame – is this the best we can do? As a country? As a nation? As a people? – will not soon disappear.