Hylton’s premature ejaculation -That $5b memorandum of misunderstanding
After months of negative press reports and caustic media commentary, Anthony Hylton, minister of industry, investment and commerce and member of parliament for Western St Andrew, has allegedly decided to tackle his image problem by hiring a (local) public-relations specialist. If one were a fly on the wall, the conversation at their initial session (expected to continue weekly until he resembled the late Sister Theresa) might sound like this.
PR: Well, Mr Minister, although you say your nose is to the grindstone, it seems like your back is to the wall ... .
AH: Do you think so?
PR: ... And you may have hit the ground running after you were elected, but as Peter Bunting once put it - talking about the murder rate - you have hit a bump in the road.
AH: And I am frequently accused of kicking the can down that same road.
PR: I don't think your critics appreciated what you have been trying to do.
AH: (morosely) They say I'm "announcement happy", but I'm not as guilty of that as Phillip Paulwell.
PR: I'm sure you're right; he's streets ahead of you, regardless of his bumps. But you don't want your announcements to become a brand of Jamaica.
AH: They say that energy, housing and investment constitute a clique of talkers talking the talk but not walking the walk. And all I want to do is create a logistics-centred economy for Jamaica.
PR: Wait a minute. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. At least you're not driving a JEEP. Although the wheels did fall off your tyre factory-cum-film studio in St Thomas.
AH: It's just my irrational exuberance.
PR: Exactly. You should have eased the economic situation qualitatively, not quantitatively.
AH: I just thought for the sake of transparency and to satisfy Trevor Munroe, I would take what was under the table and put it on the table.
PR: The result was that your unfortunate $5-billion memorandum of misunderstanding is now off the table.
AH: Yes, well, Krauck and Anchor are beginning to sound like Crown and Anchor. But how could I transform the business landscape for logistics in Jamaica unless I negotiated some logistics-related infrastructure projects? They would be game-changers ... a paradigm shift from depending on exports of hot pepper sauce and lottery scamming.
PR: But as you might know, premature ejaculation does no one a favour.
AH: It was my PB (personal best) and breaking news, as they say on television.
PR: ... but lacking in due diligence. I'm afraid. As Mark Wignall said, all you gave us was green mangoes.
AH: Anyway, I have appointed a National Logistics Initiative Council and once that's accomplished, we can move forward through the Logistics Hub Task Force, supported by the National Logistics Hub Implementation Committee, the National Trade Facilitation Committee and the Special Economic Zone Policy Steering Committee.
PR: Well, that should get us ready for the next time they widen the Panama Canal.
AH: Good, then it will give me a chance to send high-level (that means me) and targeted investment missions again to Europe, Kuwait, Dubai, China, Singapore, USA, Canada, India and, of course, Panama.
PR: All right, now let's begin rehabilitating your image. Are you a member of the National Poverty Reduction Unit?
PR: Good ... . The 'Shovel-Ready' Project Initiative?
AH: Er, I don't think so.
PR: Were you related to the mayor of Lucea?
AH: Definitely not.
PR: Have you met the requirements of the Parliamentary Integrity of Members Act?
AH: I'm working on it.
PR: Has the National Housing Trust bought any property off you yet?
PR: Good. You've dodged a few bullets.
AH: All I want to do is show that Jamaicans got talent, raise our game through a logistics-centred economy, prepackage investment opportunities, generate high investor interest ... .
PR: Mr Minister, for now your best plan would be to kibber your mouth if you aim to be the comeback kid.
AH: But I'm the $5-billion Bionic Man, aren't I?
PR: (aside) Jamaica, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
- Anthony Gambrill is a playwright. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.