Sat | Dec 10, 2016

The deep potholes plot

Published:Saturday | September 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Published: OCTOBER 18, 1979

Morris Cargil, Contributor

If the prime minister developed a hole in the seat of his pants, he wouldn't know how to have it mended, except to go to Havana and make a magnificent speech blaming The Gleaner and imperialism for the trouble.

So I have no very great hope that his Government or, to be more accurate, the Government led by Dr Trevor Munroe, Arch-Bishop Duncan and Señor Estrada will be able to do very much about the vast potholes which now make our streets more like gully-courses than highways.

To be fair, these potholes are not the faults of the Government. They are dug, in the dark of the moon, by Mr Oliver Clarke and some of the younger directors of The Gleaner, assisted by some of the less ancient columnists and Mr Eddie Seaga for the purpose of discrediting the government and hampering the country's development. It is known as an orchestrated plot simply because all events which embarrass the government profoundly, and these must include practically everything the Chief Conceptualiser says, are orchestrated. Nowadays, we have orchestrated plots on the one side, and principled policies on the other. When these two concepts clash on our highways, the result is principled potholes.

So the question that now arises in a very urgent way is what is to be done about them. Logic dictates that they should be mended in a principled way, appropriate to the glorious ideals of democratic socialism. But how?

We could, of course, plug up a few of them with the bodies of the moderate ministers. This is not nearly as cruel a suggestion as you might think, for these admirable gentlemen are well used to lying down and being trampled upon. But there are simply not enough of them to go around; not even to make North Street sufficiently smooth to make the way easy for the Arch-Bishop when he marshals his crusaders to march upon The Gleaner, and no doubt, to disclose his secret weapon to a terrified Directorate.

It all comes back, I suppose, to the PWD, which initials stand for, in case you don't know, the Public Whimsy Department, and a whimsical lot they are, indeed. For more years than the Conceptualiser has conceptualised, indeed for more years than I have lived, the PWD has been mending potholes in such a way that the mending only lasts for three weeks. I don't know why this is so. Maybe the PWD just loves mending potholes and is terrified of running out of them.

Maybe the people responsible for mending potholes have always been recruited from among the ranks of the mentally retarded as some kind of obscure do-goodery. Maybe they get paid by the number of potholes mended and so are devoted to a policy of planned obsolescence. I just don t know. All I do know is that, if one could add up all the dollar bills spent on this very temporary pothole filling over the last 40 years, these bills would stretch all the way from here to Moscow, forming a path of gold, as it were, upon which some of our leaders could walk every time they wanted advice upon how to govern Jamaica.

When, and if, a new frenzy of pothole mending comes about, how are we to persuade those retarded pothole enthusiasts of the Public Whimsy Department to mend them this time, for the first time at last, (if I may borrow a phrase from the Immortal Mouth), in a reasonably permanent manner and in such a way that the mending is not more car-shattering than the original pothole?

How, may we ask, do they mend potholes in Cuba? Clearly, imperialist and colonialist pothole-mending techniques are not good enough. I am sure that in Cuba they have a revolutionary technique, principled, permanent and egalitarian, of liquidating, rather than merely mending potholes. They can certainly dig holes, as witness the mini-dams, which is a revolutionary term for what we used to call ponds. But can they fill holes up? Principled filling that is, for wicked imperialist potholes dug by Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored reactionaries like Wilmot Perkins?

I am sure they can. I don't see Uncle Fidel being swallowed up to his gun belt by gaping potholes in Cuba. I propose, therefore, a simple and wholesome remedy.

Let's give Señor Estrada the job. Not actually to fill the potholes himself, of course, because that would clearly be against the dignity of such a splendid diplomatic and party worker. And when I say party worker, I am not referring to the Communist Party, or even its baby brother, the new People's National Party. I am referring to the Jamaica Labour Party to whom Señor Estrada is giving such valuable help. Lenin bless him.

I mean, merely, that he could organise and supervise, using new, efficient revolutionary Marxist techniques without taint of imperialism or reaction. His success in such a venture would do more to cement, as they say, Jamaican-Cuban friendship than anything else I can think of.

Were he to successfully achieve such a task, I tell him bluntly that he would have my vote as the next prime minister of Jamaica. And when finally, as all of us must, he is gathered up to that great Marxist State in the sky, we would make him a national hero - his epitaph being

"Vino a batir la Estrada

Quedo en la Estrada en Cublorta

Y termine reparando las Estradas."