Prayer is as cheap as Cusha in Montserrat. It means little and is just part of our DNA. Any child in Montserrat will pray for you on request and even for free. They copy what they see. As a matter of fact, a seven year old approached me smiling the other day. I immediately panicked because as an artist I owe so many people in The Kingdom money that my first response was:
“Oh God, do I owe you money too, kid?”
But no, thank God! He was just saying good morning and a blessed day.
And indeed since prayer is so plentiful in The Kingdom, it occurs to me that we might do well to turn it to some marketing advantage in this time of fervour and politics.
The fact is that we not only pray at the drop- of- a- hat here, we also die. (A lot!). This is due to the large number of elderly on island, as well as a record number of centenarians. They say that people who climb Baker Hill live long. (That is if you are able to dodge the speeding cars of those who think they are on a racetrack in Italy or the M1 in London).
An idea came to me the other day in passing, and indeed God has been very free with His gift of ideas to me, (He just hasn’t gotten around to showing me how to make money from them). Indeed some kind scholar (Lord Lake) suggested that I go on social welfare in order to live in The Kingdom. I consulted my fife and my fife said:
“If you do, I’ll never love you again.”
And so I had to reject the suggestion so kindly offered.
“Haul your mother scunt hole. I didn’t come back to Montserrat after all this time to go on no damn Social Welfare. To parade up and down the road like Radyo and other great hungry artist, who have to exhibit their ribs on the cross for EC$5 a pop. So you can honour me when I’m dead and place a plaque. Before I do that I’ll burn this entire Kiss- me-arse island down. (CANBOULAY the burning of the cane-fields. I leaned well from Maas Bob. Who taught us to let the cotton crop fly away like snow flakes in God’s wind. And you can’t be deported again if you’re already deported.)
Moving right along!
Now a predatory person like say a John Ryan (Gas-bag) or say a Reuben T. Meade (Twisty) or a gangster like John (Bassy) Osborne, he would see immediately the marketing possibilities of the scheme I’m about to propose.
Although someone as naïve as Don Romeo might have scruples (although I am beginning to see some potential even there with him as Don has been studying at the feet of the Great Leader to the North of our island (the one with the little Hitler/Mugabe moustache) And although it takes an Adventist longer to learn treachery and deceit, (as they are by nature a “slow” tribe), but once they learn, they excel as if to the manner born.
Soon we too will be selling passports like Antigua. (We already sell our bodies)
Now, to the vision, which came to me from God—or somewhere in His vicinity.
I was in Barbuda actually, and to tell the truth, I’ve never in all my life met another Montserratian who has been to Barbuda. Montserrat people don’t go there. We go Miami instead. And in truth, I wouldn’t have gone there myself had I not been trying to dodge an ex-wife. I needed someplace she would never think to look. Women are very much like Montserrat, they each have much to teach you if you survive them!
The reason no Montserratian goes there is because it “out-Montserrat, Montserrat’ in peace. (May I dare use the word boring!) Say instead “peaceful”. As-a-matter of-fact. Any more peaceful and you wake up dead.
I loved it, after my wife it was heavenly. You must remember that this place was the private plantation estate of the Codrington family who also own most of Barbados as well as Jamaica and they are still making money from it.
It is a bird sanctuary, which is beautiful. (The Great Leader to the North is now trying to sell the land from beneath them to the Chinese).
The most exciting event to take place during the fortnight I stayed there was a funeral. Everyone came. One, because they are all family like Montserrat, and secondly, there wasn’t a damn thing else to do!
Now, why I recall Barbuda and the joy of that funeral is because Montserrat itself surely doesn’t lack for funerals. Matter of fact we’ve had three in one week and I suspect we will beat even that record because of the sheer exhaustion from running to various funerals (many for political appearances) must lead to even more deaths. It is not the centenarians who are dying - it’s the ones in their sixties who attend to make certain that their faces and names are called in radio tributes at election time.
So, to my vision:
Why not package tours to see a genuine Montserrat funeral? We must, all of us learn to think outside the “Box” (so to speak)
We do not have the luxury of 365 beaches to sell like Antigua (nor do they in fact). The whole thing is hype like “Sir Isaac Newton”. Any St. Augustine boy or girl worth their salt, know you can’t possibly have 365 beaches on an island of 100 square miles. You would have to be a “Saga” Willock to be able to lie boldface like that.
Why can’t we market the” Come see Montserrat and Die” package?
If in Trump-land America, people are already selling their corpses to become compost upon death, so they might flower as trees for the environment, then why not come to Montserrat and witness funerals the way they use to be?
I will only say this: after having spent my life being pissed on, the prospect of returning as a tree to be pissed on through eternity, to be pissed on by both man and dog may fill white people in Vermont with “spiritual glee” Not me, sorry!
Better go with the Montserrat tour. Guarantee a funeral a ‘fortnight’, and who knows; some might find the place still charming. They might retire here and await their own transition.
There are worse places to die than The Kingdom. There is for instance Britain.
And who knows, we just might become known as:
“Montserrat, the Benares of the Caribbean. Three Funerals a Week, Guaranteed. Goat water served!”