Tue | Apr 25, 2017

Jamaica, yu lucky!

Published:Wednesday | May 6, 2015 | 5:00 AM

The age-old expression 'you're lucky' is a pronouncement that good fortune favours you. It's an acknowledgement that even without effort, success comes to everything you touch, and like the Irish, blessings abundant follow you.

'You're lucky', however, when coloured by Jamaican context, has its own unique, very different meaning. 'You're lucky' is never to be confused with 'yu lucky'. Stylised and immortalised by Mr Colour himself, Keith 'Shebada' Ramsey, yu lucky (or 'yu luddy' in inner-city speak) has become the battle cry of Jamaican don't care. It means 'good for you and what you want, but I have my own plan, and I'm sticking to it'. Yu lucky apparently has been adapted as the unofficial slogan for quite a few of our government officials.

"What? You want me to end the wage freeze? Yu lucky."

"What? My constituents are going to the bathroom in scandal bags? Yu lucky."

"What was that about youth unemployment? Yu lucky; let me take a selfie."

Anthony Hylton and Omar Davies dealt a big fat yu lucky not only to the articulate minority, but to Jamaicans as a whole. After legitimate concerns were raised about the proposed signing of a US$5 billion, with a B, MOU between the Government of Jamaica and Anchor Financing, the signing took place like nothing ever happened. Business as usual. Perhaps the signatories saw those asking questions as political detractors just throwing cold water on progress. And so they proceeded.

Hylton went on to issue a yu lucky to the US ratings agency Dunn & Bradstreet as well, suggesting that he had secret information the agency wasn't privy to which made him a better assessor of Anchor. Really?

You wonder how 30 minutes of good ol' Google research can dig up what staff members and project consultants from all of two ministries never spotted before.

From where I sit, the issues need at least consideration; if not answers - and proceeding with the signing was a slap in the face and an irresponsible move. I await the results of the 30-day due diligence on May 21.

The water minister has also dealt out a big fat 'yu lucky' to all of us. In my article of July 29, 2014, I raked the minister over the coals for yet another set of water lock-offs. That evening in Parliament, to silence me and those others cleansing themselves in bath pans, the minister made a promise to begin de-silting of the Hermitage Dam in the last quarter of the financial year.

That quarter has come and gone and no work has been done (I called the ministry and checked). I see him saying, "You want water? Yu lucky. I have my tank at home."

Perhaps the biggest yu lucky to date has been in health. Campaign promise satisfied, Jamaica now has free public health care, and boy, are we getting what we pay for!

I've long been told that 'anything free nuh good', and the horror stories I have heard from both workers in the health-care system and victims of it are nothing short of heart-breaking.

An overwhelming number of Jamaicans obviously can't afford to pay their way to good health. The truth is that no one who could afford to do better would subject themselves to a nine-hour wait at the clinic. No one who could afford to do better would sit at a public hospital with their vomiting baby for 11 hours hoping to see a doctor. No one would pray their ailments away until the 2018 surgery date they have been given, if they were in a position to do better.

However, we dare not complain. We asked for free health and we're getting it. No one ever promised that it would be good.

"Yu lucky! When my colleagues and I are sick, we take the plane to Miami."

I could think of so many other instances where we've all been told "yu lucky" by our elected officials. And we just take it. Who holds them accountable? If not us, who else? The IMF? President Obama?

Sidebar: I did find it hilarious when William Mahfood took the opportunity to dish out his own hearty dose of 'yu lucky' to the powers that be. The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and Wisynco boss flat out pretty much said, "What? Sugar tax? I'm not paying that. Yu lucky." And I loved it.

Luck has no real place in politics. And those who repeatedly rely on it, your luck will soon run out.

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.