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September 4, 2013
Star Features



I sometimes wonder what it feels like to be Roger Clarke. The hard-working veteran politician who is member of parliament for central Westmoreland clearly has a broad back - from yu si him yu si dat!

But I bet he also has very thick skin and an amazing sense of confidence. Yeah man! How else could he endure the jokes, jibes and jabs, some playful and clever and some tasteless and unkind, that come at him with repetitious regularity?

subject of jokes

At least once per week he is caricatured in some editorial cartoon, usually with bowl and spoon in hand, and a massive belly in front of him, gorging voraciously on a meal of rice. Whether on Facebook or Twitter or on stage shows or at parties, people are always making jokes about Roger Clarke. Yeah, I know; I myself have cracked a few! So, mi nah lie, if I were the affable minister of agriculture and fisheries, I'd be tired of being the subject of jokes.

Maybe he's not tired just yet though. Maybe he even enjoys the attention, because apart from being the brunt of other people's jokes, the veteran minister is also quite jolly and jocular himself, and is prone to making some funny quips as well. In fact, I've even seen him billed as performer on a comedy show more than once. And mi hear seh him done di place.

As far as I'm concerned, people like Roger Clarke are good for politics. Given the often pompous, arrogant and self-important air with which most politicians carry themselves, his jovial personality and obvious ability to laugh at self, is a welcome difference. I'd take a Roger Clarke over a Raymond Pryce any day! Whether you like him or hate him, and whether or not you're impressed with his politics, nobody can deny that Mr Clarke adds humour, colour and interest to the sometimes toxic and angry world of Jamaican public life. He adds humanity!

Well, he did that and much more a few days ago. Yeah mi peeps, the portly politician was captured on camera dancing up a storm at a recent political meeting in rural Jamaica. Now, we all know how our politicians love to pander to the populists and drop legs at meetings to help entertain their tribes. Well, from the looks of the picture I saw, Mr Clarke dropped a lot more than legs. Unnu nuh si di pickcha? Look yah man, I'm sure you've seen the picture by now. It has been making the rounds on the Internet and eliciting a range of comments. One friend of mine on Facebook says she wished she could 'unsee' the picture.

tippy toes

Funnily enough, when I saw it at first, my initial response was 'what a woman strong!' You see, with him standing on his tippy toes, I thought the minister was preparing to mount up for what we used to call 'jockey ride' in our pickney days - although in the case of that picture the foreign term 'piggy back ride' might be more appropriate. I assumed he was about to ride the lady's back, because I just never imagined the goodly agriculturalist to be a 'daggering' kind of man. I only realised from the comments of others that it was supposed to be a dance. The lead headline in yesterday's STAR, tells us: "I was just having fun - Roger Clarke says after 'daggering pic'. Well is not him [or his daggering partner] alone had fun. They facilitated fun for people all over the world.

For me the picture was hilarious, and symbolic. I don't think I have to explain why it's hilarious. But whether it was 'daggering' or riding, the image aptly and succinctly symbolises for me what politicians do to our people.


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