Thu | Sep 23, 2021

Gordon Robinson | When practice doesn't make perfect

Published:Tuesday | July 20, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding

So I got a call from Gene Autry.

“Fatboy,” he intoned menacingly, “Why’d you back down?”

“Back down?”

“You heard me. You allowed some fossil to bully you into falsely confessing you used ‘practice’ wrongly.”

“No,” I defended stoutly. “Not a fossil. He’s young.”

“Look here, Gato Gordo!” Uh, oh. He never uses his Spanish nickname for me unless it’s serious. “Remember when I pushed your head under a cold-water pipe at 2.00 a.m. so you’d wake up and play another domino game?”

“Yeh ess,” I answered hesitantly.

“Well it’s time for another cold shower. Don’t give up so easily. I know ancient Brits still distinguish between ‘practise’ and ‘practice’, but modern language uses practice as a dual-purpose word.”

“And by modern language you mean …?”

“Don’t be obtuse! Naturally, I mean American English. It’s used by every computer in Jamaica. I know you grew up singing ‘God Save the Queen’, but times change. All interactions these days are with people speaking and writing American English. I use ‘practice’ interchangeably. There are other examples like ‘organize’. If you try bucking these trends, your computer will torture you mercilessly. So decide who you’ll show the white flag. Ye olde English editor? Or your new colonizers?”

“But … .”

“I’m not finished. Have you noticed American English cancelled the suffix ‘ise’, replacing it with ‘ize’? American computers organize it so you can’t peacefully spell that word ‘organise’. So tell Editor-guy to practice spelling words without an ‘s’.”

I didn’t go down that rabbit hole but was reminded that politicians “practice” everything but what they preach, and none of it makes perfect anything, especially sense. Announcements a mus’! Performance? Mebbe. On March 14, in a web-blog post ( headlined Pan(dem)ic Marketing Obscures Vaccine Inequity, I criticised Government’s delay in prioritising vaccine procurement (elections preferred) and then unforgivably prioritising MPs/Senators in vaccine roll-out.

Howls of protest from lobotomised tribalists abounded. Health Minister Chris Tufton continued practising “market me” strategies because after all, if it’s marketed, it’s perfect, right? Thank God for straight-talking NHF chairman Howard Mitchell who was quoted in Friday’s Gleaner as admitting that “[the collapse in Indian production] is where the trouble started and Jamaica came to the party late”.


Few practise dunceness as effectively as Justice Minister Delroy Chuck who essayed one of his patented inane, inappropriate, insulting remarks during the Sexual Harassment Bill debate:

“There’s no reason why any employer… should be slapping a woman on her bottom or her chest. So that’s the extreme, but we cannot ignore where an affectionate touch on the shoulder or on the elbow or a squeeze of the hand is deemed to be sexual harassment.”

Wha, wha, WHAT???

Delroy, yu fa reel? Why would ANYONE want to touch ANYONE ELSE at work? That’s NEVER “affectionate” nor should it be tolerated. One last thing, Delroy, (said Lieutenant Colombo), the office is no place for “affection”.

Delroy’s offhand affront (and afback) to women proves that morals can’t be legislated. So his politically grandstanding law is destined for futility like the similarly hyped Anti-Litter law unless accompanied by comprehensive, continuous sex education in schools.


Across the aisle, Mark Golding has been marketing unity while practising disunity since being (s)elected party leader. He advised the NEC to choose Rise United (RU) candidates for chairman/gensec; demoted an excellent Senate Leader of Opposition Business to insert RU Mentor Peter Bunting in her job; and surrounded himself with an RU echo chamber. So on Friday, One of two PNPs threw its hands in the air and resigned en bloc. Now PNP 0.5 can rise united.

Mark Golding, the latest victim of “be careful what you ask for”, should’ve learned by now that one han’ cyan clap. Instead of leading by example, he opted for leadership catastrophe by delegating the unity process to a “committee”. Mark isn’t PNP’s future.

Like the JLP in 1967, the PNP needs a compromise leader with twin abilities. First, not being a contestant in that bitter November contest that fuelled the divisiveness. Second, having the self-confidence, commitment, and composure required to bring factions together. In 1967, the JLP found Hugh Shearer. Twenty-twenty-one PNP needs to practise finding a Shearer.

That practice can make perfect a dual-purpose leader who helps the PNP avoid political oblivion.

Peace and love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to