Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Gordon Robinson | Still ’onging around!

Published:Tuesday | April 9, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Shortly after our fateful ‘wedding’, the Old Ball and Chain interrupted one of my last permitted domino sessions.

Most of the old players had dispersed, so Gene Autry and I invited Little D and his father who were, as usual, separating us from our not-so-hard-earned cash.

Old BC, just returned from a government building (wearing long sleeves in the summer), was fuming.

“Why must these narcissistic politicians insist on hanging their pictures in every government office?” she ranted. “It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money!”

Thirty-five years later, when the current Chinese ambassador embarrassed Jamaica by pointing out Mumble Bumble’s photo still with pride of place at Montego Bay Community College, she insisted on taking over this column.

AGAIN!

There’s your picture ’onging on the wall

and my ’eart cries out to know that you are gone.

Does it have to be there, still ’onging;

’onging on the wall?

The ambassador channelled Freddy McKay, warning “You need to take this down,” to loud laughter. Then “You need a new picture.”

Old BC: No you don’t! I’ve been nagging Old Grey Balls for years to write about this. As a dumb housewife (no brighter than a third-grader), I’ve learnt that small, unnecessary things add up and eat out your earnings. If we eliminated them, Nigel could be Santa Clarke more often. Has any finance minister considered stopping expenditure on the stupid practice of mounting ministers’ photographs in government offices? Why must we see these ministers on entry? We see enough of them on television and in newspapers. Every time a new minister is appointed another photo appears. I don’t need to see them at the post office, (yes, Old GB insists on sending me to archaic places), tax office or wherever.

Where do these photos come from, anyway? Is there a room in some ministry filled with framed photos of all ministers since the dawn of time? Apart from raw propaganda, what purpose do they serve?

Old GB: Ahm……..

Old BC: Don’t interrupt! As a matter of fact, it only serves to infuriate me more while waiting for three hours at the tax office (recently) since the most inefficient system has been instituted. Formerly, I could get away with one hour in that God-forsaken place. Now I need to join three lines to do one transaction. I end up spending hours there. The new computer system is slower than ketchup. I don’t need the new comfortable chairs (somebody got a contract?) or to watch television while I wait. I need speedy, efficient service.

Old GB: But Santa deregistered me from GCT.

Old BC: That’s because you foolishly left your high-paying job 20 years ago and since wallowed in poverty. Don’t get me started on THAT brilliant decision. Anyway, back on point. If the finance ministry saved the cost of all these photographs, together with other ridiculous practices like planting bougainvillea plants in road medians, the savings could pay a few teachers.

Old GB: Er, um….

Old BC: Oh be quiet. Why bougainvillea you ask? Bougainvilleas need constant care. White flies are a pest that love this plant and will eat them down to nothing if untreated. Bougainvilleas also need trimming. Even if initial cost is small, long-term cost (unless Government plans to give some political hack a contract to constantly replace them) far exceeds, say, planting an expensive palm tree requiring minor upkeep.

Old GB: Are you done (as Mrs Dunn’s emissary seeking her son asked through a public sanitary convenience’s stall door under which he saw two feet)?

Old BC: No. There are innumerable other small, unnoticed expenditure items adding up to big expense. Government must cut these to craft a fiscally responsible Budget. Don’t spend unnecessarily. Now go away and write about THAT!

As mouse of the house (o/c Mouse-a-yard), I insisted on my constitutional right to the last word.

Old GB: Yes, Dear.

Peace and Love!

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