Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Time to up the anti

Published:Tuesday | January 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Since 2011, readers have accused me of being "anti-People's National Party (PNP)".

What a sad, pathetic place we've reached when someone who insists on holding an unaccountable government accountable is labelled "anti-PNP". In a country where, in essence, any government operates without restraint and every government takes advantage, somebody must represent powerless people and hold governments' feet to the fire.

File the prevailing perception of my being "anti-PNP" under 'B' for blissful ignorance. Memories obviously don't extend to the 1990s when three separate finance ministers in two PNP governments appointed me (twice) to chair an important public authority nor to the "missing four years" when my relentless critique of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government moved a former prime minister (as reported to me) to ask privately, "What've I done to Gordon Robinson?"

Now, it's the PNP in unrestrained, unaccountable power, it's their turn.

"Well, my name it is Sam Hall, Sam Hall.

Yes, my name it is Sam Hall; it's Sam Hall.

My name it is Sam Hall an' I hate you, one and all.

An' I hate you, one and all:

Damn your eyes!"

Jamaica and the IMF

I was accused of bias when I wrote that the PNP first took Jamaica to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Readers with short memories alleged it was the JLP in 2007. TRUTH: The PNP first took Jamaica to the IMF in 1977.

Faced with that reality, tribal readers retreat to the allegation that Portia had no choice. Did Portia have a choice? Everybody has choices. It matters not what her choices were. What matters are her decisions and their effect on taxpayers.

"I killed a man, they said; so they said.

I killed a man, they said; so they said.

I killed a man, they said an' I smashed in his head.

An' I left him layin' dead,

Damn his eyes!"

Tribal readers craft questions like "Did Portia have a choice?" to prove how wonderful the PNP is. I don't care. I write to improve the lot of all Jamaicans.

"I saw Molly in the crowd; in the crowd.

I saw Molly in the crowd; in the crowd.

I saw Molly in the crowd an' I hollered, right out loud:

'Hey there Molly, ain't you proud?

'Damn your eyes!'"

Backed into a corner, tribalists ask: "What would've been the impact on social programmes, education, health, and security if Portia didn't go to the IMF?"

Who knows? Not me. Hypothetical questions are evaders of reality. Reality is that none of our social programmes - education, health and security - grew under the IMF.

Fewer murders

I found Peter Bunting's group hug with security forces because there were 100 fewer murders in 2014 disturbing. That's a numerical improvement only but represents no growth in security, which can't be measured by counting. One thousand-plus murders added to more than 100 police killings in a 4,240 square-mile island with a three million population in one year is internationally disgraceful.

"But a-swingin', I must go; I must go.

A-swingin', I must go; I must go.

A-swingin', I must go while you critters down below yell: 'Sam, I told you so.'

Well, damn your eyes!"

However, I congratulate new Commissioner Williams on the marked improvement in his force's attitude to the public. I've noticed politeness has become a watchword - great start.

"Then the Sheriff, he came to; he came to.

Ah, yeah, the Sheriff, he came to; he came to.

The Sheriff, he come to an' he said: 'Sam, how are you?'

An' I said: 'Well, Sheriff, how are you?

Damn your eyes!'"

It's pitiful there are so many tribalists masquerading as commentators. This strengthens listening/reading tribalists' belief that all are like that. Bad news: I'm different. I have no more personal ambition in this life. I want NOTHING from any government. I've embraced poverty.

"My name is Samuel, Samuel.

My name is Samuel, Samuel.

My name is Samuel, an' I'll see you all in hell.

An' I'll see you all in hell,

Damn your eyes!"

Sam Hall, an olde English folk song about an unrepentant condemned murderer, was written in the 18th century (originally named 'Jack Hall' after a notorious thief hanged at Tyburn in 1707). Only six recordings of this song exist. The latest one by legend Johnny Cash is included in Cash's last album, which, unusually, includes mostly covers.

Politicians seeking "power" must exercise "power" for the people's benefit and NOT to improve their own lot at the people's expense. As long as Jamaica honours this more in the breach, I'll be "anti-PNP" when PNP is Government and "anti-JLP" when JLP is Government.

Peace and Love.

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