Sat | May 30, 2020

Gordon Robinson | The Lord will provide

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Today’s column is dedicated to all youth celebrating a special day, but especially to those who may be concerned about their life’s path.

I’m giving you an abbreviated version of a chapter of a memoir I plan to finish this century. I’m writing so that all who fret about the future can stop worrying. The Lord will provide. I see readers recoiling in shock as they know that nobody is more anti-church than I. I’m also a devout Christian. Very few calling themselves ‘Christians’ are any such thing. Many don’t know the difference between church and Christianity or Christianity and Christians.

In high school, I was considered a ‘maths brains’. My mother would say I came by that trait honestly. My father was one of Jamaica’s best-ever maths teachers. Mum was brilliant at St Andrew High School in all subjects and ultra successful as a woman in corporate Jamaica long before it was fashionable, and without #MeToo’s help. Her brothers were also high achievers (one won the Jamaica Scholarship), and their father used to check his sons’ Senior Cambridge maths answers in his head.

So I sat maths O’Level (plus Latin and English language) in fourth form (Jeez, Louise, grade 10) and add maths, chemistry, physics, etc in fifth form. When I applied for physics, chemistry, and zoology in sixth form on my way to a certain medical degree, the headmaster refused permission as I didn’t have biology. Nobody told ME medicine had anything to do with biology so, my neighbour, outstanding Wolmer’s Girls’ teacher Marilyn Sutherland, tutored me in biology during the summer. I passed the London GCE exam before September.


It was onwards and upwards to A’Levels, which I navigated successfully while studying dominoes and bridge as my majors. Well, it didn’t take a year at UWI before I realised that, to become a doctor, one had to work 24 hours per day. That disgraceful requirement left no room for horse racing or dominoes, so I stormed out of THAT course of study in a huff.

After temporarily withdrawing speech, my father arranged for me to get a menial job at the Jamaica Tourist Board. I was at the foot of the ladder in Planning, Research and Statistics. My tasks included telephoning every hotel every Thursday, finding out their ‘house counts’ (total number of rooms, number of rooms occupied), and preparing a weekly table.

Applying the only positive attitude I ever absorbed, I ignored the job’s boring character, put my head down, and ensured my house counts were the world’s best. After three months, I was called into the department head’s office and told my pay was increased (to the rapturous sum of J$98 per week). After six months, I was summoned again. The head, one of the finest human beings I ever met and one of the many loves of Old Ball and Chain’s life, the late Ainsley Elliot, said to me, “Gordon, you don’t know it, but you’re a lawyer. Don’t argue. Apply to the law faculty immediately!”

So I did. To my shock and amazement, to become a lawyer (unlike a doctor), one could get away with working 24 hours per year. The profession has suffered ever since.

We were a young married couple living in rented accommodations when Ainsley turned up at the door. He told Old BC (I was irrelevant), “Life of Jamaica is developing a townhouse scheme and offering 10 per cent mortgage for five years. Come with me.” She did. She handled all the necessaries (I didn’t have to talk to a soul), and we owned our home.

Don’t lie about and mope. Get out there. Do something. No matter what or how unsuited to your dreams. Your future is lying in wait for you OUTSIDE. It’ll almost certainly involve mentor(s) you’d never meet sulking in bed. The universe will unfold exactly as it should. You need only be available and receptive. The Lord will provide.

Peace and love.


Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to