Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Immoral erections

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The under-construction Ministry of Foreign Affairs building (right) redefines the downtown Kingston skyline along with Scotia Centre (centre) and the Bank of Jamaica (left).
Residents of Allman Town cool out along an offroad of Heroes Circle, Kingston.
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Jamaica is well advanced in achieving what appears to be a massive erection for use and enjoyment by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

The location of this erection facilitating foreign affairs is Port Royal Street in the general vicinity of the old Myrtle Bank Hotel where, legend says, black journalist Evon Blake once emptied that hotel's swimming pool of its all-white swimmers by jumping in with pipe firmly embedded in mouth. As usual, where legend is concerned, questions as to his motivation have been raised. The act of rebellion has gone down in folklore as a protest against segregation, which it most certainly was, but some believe that Blake only wanted himself, as a person deserving to be 'white', to be desegregated and not the average black man.

 

Government Enlargement

 

Whatever! So, this former historical site is being swept away on the winds of expedience whose policy seems to be encouraging erection as a tool for Government enlargement and, ironically, this new and bigger Government erection is said to be a gift from the Chinese. Still, our foreign affairs seem to be conducted for the sole pleasure of Big Bully from the North (BBN), no matter how sadistically that partner's flailing about, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am style, has turned out to affect us. So, China gives us an erection to help us better enjoy foreign affairs with BBN. Brilliant!

But, it also appears that Government's engorgement isn't confined to the public conduct of foreign affairs on Port Royal Street. The latest plan for Government to pleasure itself has been unveiled as involving the capture of National Heroes Park for a massive new collective erection for MPs. It also involves the demolition of surrounding areas, including Allman Town, to accommodate a government zone, which involves new erections for several existing ministries.

UDC General Manager Damian Graham writes on the corporation's website: "The present GOJ mandate to create a government zone allowing ministries and agencies of GOJ to be within the designated zone surrounding the Parliament significantly changes the scope of today's project in context of what previous development had contemplated."

Except, of course, for Foreign Affairs! They'll be granted a more appropriate seaside ambience to encourage closer collaborations.

So, THIS is what urban renewal now looks like. Huge self-aggrandising erections (the current scope of which wasn't previously considered possible) to satisfy users' narcissistic delusions of grandeur while we suck salt through a variety of wooden spoons, paying more for less and living on the edge of poverty while being told that, officially, poverty is down. Really? Seriously?

So, THIS is what urban renewal now looks like. Allman Town, a community in dire need of renewal, is to be acquired and demolished without any thought for alternative affordable living arrangements for its residents? Allman Town ruined. Gordon House renewed? See the necessary correlation? Buy up property at statutory rates that'll drive former owners/occupiers into penury so that government ministers can enjoy their erections and show them off to the world? What do we get in return? Accountability? Transparency? Prosperity? Nah! All we get is a relocation of a House of Sin with a brand new erection and more public political masturbation.

There is a house in New Orleans

they call the Rising Sun.

And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy

and God I know I'm one.

 

'Government Zone'

 

Why are we demolishing sections of Allman Town and replacing them with 'government zone', yet we can't afford to demolish Cornwall Regional Hospital and rebuild a safe environment for medical staff, ancillary staff and patients? Is this the result of yet another foreign affair with China that we weren't supposed to know about? Are the Chinese giving us these huge erections? Would that be a first? I suspect there's much more to this than meets the eye. If it's a Chinese erection, there'll have to be.

My mother was a tailor.

She sewed my new blue jeans.

My father was a gamblin' man

down in New Orleans.

Now the only thing a gambler needs

is a suitcase and trunk

and the only time he'll be satisfied

is when he's all drunk.

Will our political leaders ever be satisfied? They pass laws taxing us and then exempt themselves so that new high-end cars can be imported to be used by them and then purchased at knock-down prices when they're leaving. They pass constitutionally suspect laws on data protection that unnecessarily restrict media's ability to investigate Government corruption and then exempt Government from the provisions of these laws.

Squatters in Westmoreland who can provide large blocs of votes for whoever catches their fancy are the subject of empathetic, supportive remarks by MPs for their misfortune to have captured property owned by others. Meanwhile, poor residents of Allman Town must have their property captured by law and then simply disappear so that a government zone can be created to provide more opportunity to prance, preen, pound desks and generally stand on 'pomps and pride', while Jamaica sinks into an endless mire of crime, undereducation, lack of public health care, and infrastructural improvements limited to the chosen few for foreigners' benefit.

Oh, mother, tell your children

not to do what I have done.

Spend your lives in sin and misery

in the House of the Rising Sun.

Why is Government moving from downtown Kingston to capture green spaces currently providing much-needed stress relief to disadvantaged residents? Why can't government zone be erected on the waterfront near the new foreign affairs ministry where much private-sector development is also taking place? Whatever happened to the basis of not voting against USA's unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital because all Israeli government centres are located there?

This is why I advocate tirelessly for radical constitutional change. I don't want Jamaica to give birth to any more children who grow up to live in sin and call it politics. I don't want any more modern slavery for my grandchildren because of the sin and misery of those in 'power' causing them to take out their insecurities on Jamaica's grandchildren without sanction.

I want my grandchildren to be able to proudly enter a House of True Representatives, not an assembly of bullies who take and take without giving a thought for any of their constituents unless that thought also furthers their own personal ambition.

British rock band The Animals was formed in the early 1960s in Newcastle upon Tyne (Tyneside) in the wave of British groups that rode the success of the Beatles to musical glory. They endured a short, volatile career but released some seminal recordings, including a version of the American folk song The House of the Rising Sun, which is considered a 20th-century pop classic. While the original version was sung in the character of a woman led into a life of degradation, The Animals' version is told through the eyes of a young man who follows his father into alcoholism and gambling ruin. The song's premise is to learn from the mistakes of your elders.

Although the song's date and author are unknown, some musicologists rely on its resemblance to 16th-century ballads to suggest it may be derived from one. As a popular folk song, the oldest record of House of the Rising Sun as a song was 1905, and it was first recorded in 1933 by an Appalachian group. Other early recordings include Woody Guthrie's 1941 version and the iconic Bob Dylan's 1961 cover. The Animals' version is easily the most popular. Dylan is often annoyed when it's assumed he covered the song from them.

Versions of the song have been recorded by many notable artistes and are often heard in the soundtracks of popular TV shows (West Wing, Supernatural) and movies (Suicide Squad).

We mustn't do as the majority of our political parents did for 55 years. We mustn't aspire only to seek personal privilege by filling spaces they leave vacant. We mustn't allow future politicians to become so drunk with power that they run roughshod over us without restriction. Let's insist on fundamental constitutional change to ensure WE have the real power. Let's insist we be empowered to make them pack their suitcases, empty their trunks and leave whenever they become too engorged with power that they abuse it and us.

Are there any fundamentalists among us who will begin this crucial process?

Peace and love.

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