Das Boots: The tale of Kamla Rani and Louis V…

The National Mother and Grandmother: Looking Prime Ministerial

There’s been a lot of talk online and in person about the Trinidad Express’ story on Kamla Rani’s Louis Vuitton gold hight tops. In many quarters, some believe it was a non-story. In my case, I think it was a cleverly played game of inception (whether the reporter knows it or not). The Express gave us the simple facts: here are the shoes, this is what they cost, this is where you can buy them…and oh, here’s a picture of our PM on stage holding Machel Montano’s hand wearing them….make of it what you will! The real story is not Das Boots…..but what Das Boots represents. Marie Antoinette’s symbol is cake, Imelda Marcos’ is a closet of shoes and Eva Peron’s is everything. These Louis Vs may well be the way we remember the PM’s reign in years to come: a garish, coskelle display of inappropriateness. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Kamla_s_pricey_boots-139413813.html

People like their leaders to look and act, like, well, leaders?

Compare and contrast the two looks to your left.
What a lot of people are choosing to ignore in whether this story about the PM’s shoes is a non-story or not is that, the shoes in and off themselves aren’t the story. But what they symbolise to the population are.
Panday had a billion dollar airport, a London Flat and a bank account become the symbols of his tenure in office. Patrick Manning’s was the waterfront project and the Church in Guanapo. Kamla’s reign may well boil down to what is symbolised by these boots…..opulence and inappropriateness.

From the beginning of her term in office one of the things that has NEVER characterised the PM is hard work. She is seen as a fashion plate…dresses up a lot, flies a lot, has a large entourage and seems to be as blinged out as a rockstar. Not more than two weeks ago newspaper stories arose that since her return from India, where true to form she seemed to be on parade, the PM was hardly in office. Her insecurity adviser flew gallantly to her defence to say that the PM works from several offices. She is the hardest working PM the country has ever had. Yet, while Kamla couldn’t be found at any of her offices during the day and her husband and grandchildren keep asking for her, she has been found at many fetes this past week.
And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with the PM or citizen Kamla  enjoying entertainment. There is a lot wrong when your PM’s behaviour is unseemly. It matters little that the boots cost TT$5000. It matters little that the PM can afford them, or that Citizen Kamla can afford them. The real crux of the matter with these boots is what they represent: opulence, luxury and inappropriateness in a time when the citizenry needs examples of austerity and strong leadership.
It is a time of crippling economic austerity for most. We’ve had 0 per cent economic growth for the past 3 years and at every turn Dookeran is promising a blue sky. Daily people can afford less and less on their salaries. In the last 2 years several important industries have either ground to a halt or are experiencing severe pains. Construction is at a halt, the advertising industry is feeling the pain severely, as are farmers, taxi drivers and retail store owners. And these are just the areas that I can personally attest to.

In this time of economic slowdown, with population morale at a low over all the many issues plaguing the society: inept SoE, corrupt and inept police force, regular missteps from COP Gibbs, blunderings and blusterings from the AG, missteps and misspeaks from the PM herself, incompetence from the President, our non-Integrity Commission, raids on media houses that no one but Sgt Koon Koon will accept responsibility for, it just wasn’t the right time to see the PM parading herself in a way that seemed frivolous and inappropriate.
It was silly enough that she came onstage to present an award to soca artiste Benjai that no one seemed to know anything about. To date we don’t know why Benjai got the award or what the award was for and if it was cabinet-approved. And the PM was onstage in her official capacity, not as Citizen Kamla…along with an entourage that included her husband and Minister of National Security. The talk within the HD camp (and I aint naming my sources, Sgt Koon Koon) is that her arrival onstage wasn’t scripted….in short, the government stormed the stage demanding to be let on to make a presentation…..that we are still in the dark about.

The PM in her Louis Vs

And take a moment to really assess Kamla’s image that night: gold boots and camel toe….no one told her the pants weren’t fitting well? Do we really want a PM who dresses like the girls in music videos? Is this what we want to see our PM looking like? Is this the best we can do as a PM: a person who shirks her duties, but finds time to party? Is there a difference between the PM and the average teenager who is all about the look with no substance?

Now down to the boots of the matter. How many of us can say that they are comfortable with Kamla’s constant parading, gallerying and politicking. 20 months and 24 days into her governance and she hasn’t started to do any  real work yet? The most amount of work the PM has done for her tenure seems to be handing out checks and awards during the Carnival season. I can’t wait for Soca Monarch.

There is no crime plan in sight (despite her announcing the unveiling of one 2 weeks ago), no action on Gibbs or Warner (probes that are all still pending), and there is a looming crisis in the energy sector. Yet she appears on fete stages regularly to sing Bruno Mars’ songs into microphones or to pass out nameless honours. And the dress code is inappropriate. People want their Prime Ministers to look like leaders, not like mutton dressed as lamb. Something discreet and tasteful, not garish and pricely. I maintain the only thing the PM seemed to be missing that night was powder on her chest and gold teeth…..then she’d be the rockstar that she clearly wants to be….and stop pretending to be the Prime Minister and Stateswoman that she is clearly not cut out to be.

So lemme send a special request to my PM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ


18 thoughts on “Das Boots: The tale of Kamla Rani and Louis V…

  1. Nice assessement. I was one of the people that thought this was a non-story and mind you I ain’t a fan of Kamla Rani, but you put it into a whole other perspective!

  2. very entertaining piece truth is indeed stranger than fiction,
    i sort of pity her now though, she can go no lower in the public’s eye
    she like the white line in the road.

  3. This comment is not analytical it is very biased and you can tell from the tone exactly what side of the political divide this person is one. I wish that when people render opinions it will be more fact and data based and not just on uninformed speculation and personal animus.

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  8. People can’t u all find something better to talk about? U all have time to look at shoes, so what that’s her personal business if she owns a “LV . Find a better story people

  9. I figured she was trying to appeal to afro trinis with this move as their culture is all about bling, shoes are of huge importance to blacks (there was almost a riot in the US over new Air Jordans), just my take

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  12. All PMs can easily be criticised for such details. I don’t dwell on personalised issues. It strays from the real issues such as crime and GPD.

    For me, the country feels safer with the greater presence of police and army. Statistics are key, last year, 2011 the total number of murders was 1/4 less than 2010. 3 months of SOE last year seems to have done the trick. This year lets have 3 1/2 months and next year 4 months SOE. If that’s what it takes to have a crime plan then SOE be it. How do you really prevent gang warfare and domestic violence from happening within a 5 year reign. SOE was a short term measure and many of us felt safer as a result.

    Otherwise, Real statistics need to be stated. What is our true population number? Therefore what is our real GDP? Is the government going to continue to buffer non profitable, mismanaged organisations? Time will tell – lets get the real statistics and stop rambling on about shoes..

    • I keep forgetting that suspending constitutional rights is a crime plan….silly me. Forget improving crime detection and solution rates. Forget cleaning up the judiciary and prison system. Forget dealing with crime at all levels…let’s just declare hotspots and put the nation under curfew….

  13. Like is only hip hop , rap and calypso people could show off the bling bling. Women, yuh is real bad mind- a real hypocrite, yuh just doh like to see people looking nice. And ah sure yuh is spend plenty money by the hairdresser doh mine yuh like to wrap cloth on yuh head.

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