By George Davis
This festive season, while you imbibe the liquor and food that's just reward for your toil and success over the year past, spare a thought for one man. Raise your crystal glass, tumbler, enamel mug or your plastic cup and toast a man whom you wish better luck on for the year 2013.
Do tilt your Red Stripe, Guinness and Heineken, White Rum, Hennessy or bottle of champagne-flavoured syrup to the curb and pour a little. While you pour, ask the Lord to assist this one man to get to grips with what is the most arduous task of all assigned to any worker in Jamaica, land we love.
For every succulent piece of pork, fish or chicken along with gungo rice and peas which you are set to consume this holiday season, extend some consideration to one man, whose meals, fancy as they may be, may not excite his taste buds as they ought to.
For every slice of fruit cake you may devour, in tandem with sorrel or egg nog, do say a silent prayer for one man, whose Christmas dinner and dessert may go uneaten, driven as he is by thoughts of the price he and his gang of 42 may have to pay if he fails to deliver on the signal issue of importance to the country at this time.
GAGGLE OF CRITICS
Children, I ask not that you do these things for our embattled Public Defender Earl Witter, though Lord knows the goodly chap urgently needs the prayers. Instead, my supplication is on behalf of the only child of Aubrey and Thelma Phillips, our finance minister, Dr Peter David Phillips.
There's a gaggle of critics jostling to shout loudest about Dr Phillips' shortcomings as finance minister in 21st-century Jamaica. There are many who'll say that former portfolio holder, Dr Omar Davies can still outclass Dr Phillips at the finance ministry and that he, not the East Central St Andrew MP, should be marshalling the negotiations with the IMF at this time.
This kind of chatter is incessant. However, you still can and really should ignore it. The criticism of Phillips reminds me a little of the invective against Audley Shaw when he started out as finance minister.
There were these armchair experts, who never ran a business or handled any portfolio of worth, who were derisory and plain bad mind when talking about Shaw's prospects in the ministry.
Love him or loathe him, the facts support the argument that Shaw was at least no less effective in the hot seat than some of the more feted occupants. Dr Phillips is a very strong character. It's even fair to say that for a man who turns 63 on December 28. He's even headstrong at times. It's in his hands whom the prime minister has entrusted the most difficult job in the Cabinet and I believe it to be more than fair for us to wait until he fails before we crucify him.
Based on the change in rhetoric about the state of the negotiations thus far, from no sticking points in September to two major sticking points in December, it's clear that substantial progress has been made.
It does not, as some would have us believe, mean that Phillips is failing in closing out a deal that's in the best interest of the country. Up to this point, he has my full support, because all reports suggest we are firmly in the game and remain at the deal-making table.
We know Peter, that there are tough choices facing the Government. I ask only that you communicate these choices in clear terms to the country, without cloaking it in the kind of jargon popular with people in the highest decision-making offices.
Don't generalise the problems, Peter. Explain them. Be precise. Be open and honest. Display the type of honesty which you so fervidly demanded of the previous JLP administration. Peter, all we ask in return for our confidence is that you give it to us straight.
No chaser, just pour it on the rocks. The people will respect you for it. The people want to believe in you, Peter. Flood us with reasons to. Selah.
George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.