Tue | Sep 26, 2017

When the going gets tough, politicians get going

Published:Sunday | October 25, 2015 | 10:00 AMAnthony Gambrill, Contributor
Anthony Gambrill

Man, I tell you, I’ll soon be down to my last quattie.

"How so?"

"Everything crash. I was making a pile from the lottery in Westmoreland, but the Sav-la-Mar don moved in."

"You were lucky to escape with your life."

"My shrimp farm in Clarendon was coming along. I was about to sell my first batch, when praedial larcenists cleaned me out."

"Unbelievable."

"Then the police seized my ganja crop ... ."

"... Why ... ."

"... for non-payment of their piece of the pie."

"Piece of the pie?"

"Well, you know what I mean. Now, I might have to get in line for Canadian farm work and pick apples."

"No, no, man, no need for that. You just have to enter politics. After all, you are son of the soil, and it's election time. My party will find you a constituency."

"Anywhere but Hanover. Tell me, what policies are popular with the public?"

"Let me see. Do you give priority to education over roadwork? If so, that will ruin your chances."

"I never had much education myself."

"Good. That's an advantage.

What about youth

unemployment."

"Kids don't have votes."

"But the older ones do. You'll need to mobilise them."

"What does that mean?"

"Roadwork. Find a few party members who want contracts, make sure you get a donation for the leader, then allocate work for the youth in your constituency."

"But isn't there more to politics than roadwork?"

"Not much. Your number-one priority is to get the party re-elected next time. You may be asked about some other issues."

"Like what?"

"Children in lock-ups."

"Are there any?"

"The IMF."

"That's easy. It's Michael's Fault."

"Cho, man, that's history. Foreign affairs?"

"You mean taking my secretary to a conference overseas?"

"Goat Islands?"

"Haven't we given that to the Chinese already?"

"What's your opinion on same-sex marriage?"

"Same-sex marriage? Adam and Steve? As long as they vote for me."

"Remember, legislators have to declare their assets."

"That's easy, I'm broke. So how will I finance my campaign? Even nomination costs $10,000?"

"Don't worry, some businessmen will find that for you."

"How do I repay them?"

"Arrange a few waivers and licences after you've been elected."

"Then there are campaign expenses."

"No problem. There are plenty of drug dealers, dons, lottery scammers, and money launderers to make paper-bag donations."

"Thank the Lord."

"You'll need him, too, so go to every funeral in your constituency. Then you'll need funds for chicken neck and back, bun and cheese at Easter, T-shirts, caps, buttons, posters, bus rentals, sound systems, and so on. We live in the age of handout politics."

"Lawd God!"

"You'll probably have to buy a few votes. Or at least get a few voters not to vote."

"How can I be sure I'll get elected?"

"Don't worry, man, our party has even had 110 per cent of the voters in some constituencies."

"Is that legal?"

"What has legal got to do with it?"

"Okay, say I get elected, what's in it for me?"

"A brand-new SUV for a start."

"Cool."

"Then, for instance, you could get the NHT to buy your shrimp farm and make it into a tourist attraction."

"Even cooler."

"Vote yourself a raise, get jobs for your friends, go on fact-finding missions to foreign - the possibilities are endless."

"Politics certainly has its benefits."

"Benefits are what it's all about, my friend."

"But will it mean a lot of hard work?"

"No, once you've walked behind the leader up Duke Street to Gordon House, your worries will be over."

"But all those meetings of the House, committees, retreats, constituency visits?"

"Relax. Just turn up when you feel like it, and make sure you look good on Facebook and Instagram."