Confessions of a Prime Minister
(This is a reworking of a piece initially done in 2014)
I was on the Shrink’s couch complaining about serious depression. It was only two months ago I was voted out of office, but the journey back to ordinary life was just too much to take. Those who used to bow to me as though I was king now passing me straight. Dem hypocrites! Dem Yard fowls! The Shrink tried to get me talking, and at first, I could only express my dissatisfaction with people whom I consider ungrateful, given all I had done for them. The Shrink tried to get me to recount what I had done. I resisted, but I believe he put me in some sort of trance or even worked Obeah on me, for I began to spill the beans and to let out my innermost secrets. I began to say things I never thought I will tell anyone. I started babbling uncontrollably.
Well, the job of Prime Minister was a taxing one. It all started when I figured I had to reward all who were loyal to me, who brought news and displayed their loyalty in many ways. One day one of my ministers brought me an envelope with $100,000. I asked him where it came from. He said calmly, you remember the guy from the Middle East to whom we sold land and gave concessions to set up a glove factory? He paid me $400, 000 over what he was supposed to pay. But that is illegal! Not so with him.! He told me that is the way he does business. The truth is PM, I could not decide who to give the concessions to and this sealed the matter. Well since it has already been done, let it be. But I will have to pray as soon as you leave. After all, I am a man of God.
I accepted it, but felt I could give part to some of my supporters. I don’t have jobs for all, but they will remain loyal once they see the sacrifice I making for them! But the money did not go very far. So many supporters to make happy and then one thing led to another. I reminded myself that I was there to serve my people. But after all I am also part of my people, so I had also to satisfy myself. But many other things happened.
The job of governing is not easy! We got in with more big talk than grandiose ideas. It ain’t easy. People were calling on me for all sorts of things, even want gas for dey car. Very often I could not sleep, and I believe is that tiredness that set me on the wrong path. The temptation was great. I continued to pray. I was fortunate that I just had to say the word and my men would do the rest. I used to think that I was elected to serve everyone, but that could never be. There are those phoning in to the radio stations and writing in the newspapers questioning everything I did. Damn hypocrites! I buy a car, they complain. I travel overseas, they complain. I was Prime Minister of a country that was poor but that is no reason to wallow in mud. I had to set an example to my people, letting them know that if I can do it so can they.
Should I not reward those who were keeping me updated on what was happening in the country; on who was bad-talking and double-crossing me? Obviously with all my work I couldn’t get around, so those telephone calls, WhatsApp messages and texts were important. I got best support from the Christian fellows, for somehow, they had access to all the commess! When I had to give a talk, they were always there, especially the public servants, who wanted to make sure I saw them.
But loyalty must be rewarded. Some of them I now know disowned me even before the cock crowed once.
They know everything I did was for them but imagine this is how they are now rewarding me. Some, I believe, are even hobnobbing with the enemy! Admittedly I really lived it up, but I was preparing the way for them. But . . .! OH My God, would you believe it! I am not on a couch but on my own bed staring into the ceiling. This dream is serious! I must now go and find a real Shrink!
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian