Thu | Oct 19, 2017

It’s not Sergio’s fault

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM

I'm forced to report the Old Ball and Chain is not a Sergio Garcia fan.

It all began in 2002 when Sergio disrespected her favourite 'other' man, Tiger Woods (eclipses even Pierce and Denzel), after the US Open at Bethpage Black. Sergio suffered the worst luck while in contention at that major championship, in that a Friday flood requiring Noah's talents to navigate blighted the afternoon session in which Sergio was drawn. Tiger played in the unaffected morning wave. Afterwards, Sergio accused the USGA of acting unfairly because, in his opinion, had Tiger been playing, play would have been suspended.

To paraphrase the great Paul Keenes-Douglas, who tell him say so? The wrath of New Yorkers and, worse, the wrath of Old BC engulfed him. It didn't help that top-class golfer, US fan favourite and all-round nice guy Phil Mickelson was also drawn in that Friday afternoon rain-soaked session but, instead of whining, he put his head down, gritted his teeth, played through it and finished second to Tiger. Sergio barely escaped New York alive and was unofficially persona non grata for years.

If you thought it couldn't get worse for Sergio, fast-forward to 2007 in The Open at Carnoustie. On the 72nd hole, Sergio narrowly missed what would've been the winning putt after seeing his approach hit the flag stick and carom 20 feet away. Inconsolable at a post-game press conference, he complained the golf gods had conspired against him. Well, that was it. Old BC placed him firmly in her little black book without hope of parole.

 

El Niño distraction

Imagine her surprise when she read a June 26 Gleaner report headlined 'Water crisis worsens for 2016 as El Niño strengthens'. The report quoted Jeffrey Spooner, Meteorology Service director, as saying: "This year is an El Niño year, and it has strengthened quite quickly and more rapidly than was projected. We never got the May-June rains, and ... we might also not get the appreciable October-November rains (this year), so come next year, we will face significant challenges as it relates to water availability, especially during the dry season."

Old BC's reaction gave me heart palpitations. "Why're they blaming Sergio?" she yelled. I was still clutching my chest about to exclaim, "Elizabeth, I'm coming to meet you!" when she then uttered the four words I KNEW I'd never hear her say, "It's NOT Sergio's fault!"

She insisted I leap to Sergio's defence. Since, in my religion, a happy wife equals a happy life, and wives are happiest when husbands obey, I've no option but to comply.

Our water crisis has NOTHING to do with El Niño. It has everything to do with 50 years of governments neglecting water collection/conservation in favour of running wid it; winning elections; and keeping political pals happy with cushy appointments, huge contracts with guaranteed overruns and unlimited opportunities for corrupt benefits in exchange for votes.

This perversity has resulted in:

- Insufficient storage/collection facilities. 'Chicken Feed' Pickersgill said he's working on it;

- Inadequate maintenance of Mona and Hermitage dams resulting in more silt than water. Desilting promised for January-March 2015 remains missing in action, presumed dead. 'Chicken Feed' is working on it;

- NWC underground sieves (oops, sorry, 'pipes') leaking away 70 per cent of water being transported to customers; causing underground soil erosion and dangerously camouflaged sinkholes in roads. New underground pipes would solve Jamaica's water problems in one fell swoop. 'Chicken Feed' is working on it;

- Lack of coordination of collection efforts so that millions of gallons of rainwater regularly run to waste on the north and northeast coasts;

- Grossly inadequate environmental regulation/oversight emphasising tourism development and permitting rampant deforestation; poisoned aquifers and watershed elimination. 'Chicken Feed' is working on it and promised an early 'announcement';

- Persistent refusal to impose on every new building permit and enforce -rainwater-collection requirements;

When the announcement came, it was business as usual. Standard words like "as soon as possible", "intention to repair", and my personal favourite, "policy guidelines are being prepared", featured. Immediate action involved rounding up and parading the usual suspects: water lock-offs and water restrictions guaranteeing business closures. Once again, we're punished for Government's malfeasance. We're turned into criminals while Government makes promises and 'Chicken Feed' camps out at KFC.

I agree with Old BC. Jamaica's water woes can't be blamed on Sergio. But Government will try. It'll also blame us for watering gardens and washing cars. Yet government ministers will drive squeaky-clean SUVs and live amid gorgeous garden paradises.

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.