Yendi Phillipps and Peter Phillips: Beauty and the Beast
By Din Duggan
SO I went to bed Sunday night to 'news' that former Miss Jamaica World and Universe Yendi Phillipps is expecting a child with dancehall artiste Daniel 'Chino' McGregor - son of reggae legend Freddie McGregor.
I'm not one to follow or discuss celebrity or pseudo-celebrity news as there are far more important things happening in the world (like the upcoming Manchester Derby between Manchester United and Manchester City). But this story caught my attention not merely because it was all over my social-media feeds and this newspaper's website, no, this one captured my attention for the far-reaching impact of the young lady's actions.
I was deeply disappointed, saddened, upset, and livid even at Yendi Phillipps' decision to have a child. I am still inconsolable. Shame on Ms Phillipps.
No, I'm not saddling up my moral high horse, like some of you have done, or mounting my wobbly soapbox of hypocrisy. My outrage has nothing to do with role models or examples for young girls. After all, this phenomenon is nothing new in our morally ruptured society. Nearly 80 per cent of children born in Jamaica are out of wedlock and, at least, half of households are headed by a single female. So if you weren't outraged by the breakdown of the institution of marriage last week then you surely shouldn't be outraged about it today.
My exasperation is strictly personal. Yendi ruined my future plans. She has altered the trajectory of my entire life. You see, although she didn't know it, I was supposed to marry her. But as reggae artiste Jah Mason sombrely declared a few years back: "my princess (or ,in this case, my beauty queen) gone far, far away".
Sure, the 2010 Miss Universe runner-up doesn't have the least idea who I am. But that would have certainly changed - in fact, that's what my column is secretly all about. Yes, I've written passionately about social justice. I've waxed poetic about breaking down barriers to equality. I've laid out my solutions for crime and violence and given my prescriptions for economic development. But that was all part of a master plan to capture Yendi's heart. I was simply awaiting that one note from her: "Good column, Din", after which I would have skilfully made my move, promptly resigned from this post, and lived happily ever after in a seaside cottage in Portland with my Miss Jamaica.
But, alas, it was not meant to be. I suppose I wasn't born a winner. My big ship didn't sail to her ocean. I'm just going to have to be lonely. Because when push came to shove 'Chino' McGregor reached her destination before me.
Really though, I wish the soon-to-be parents and their soon-to-be newborn God's richest blessings, His guidance and His protection.
Now that I have your undivided attention (and 200 more words to burn) I'll add this: mind your own business. Yendi Phillipps' baby has nothing to do with you. The Phillips you should be concerned about has just embarked on a mission to conceive our very own little bundle of sorrow.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips recently left the island, bound for New York, Boston, and London, ostensibly to drum up support in the global capital markets to sell a bit more of your future - creating more debt for Jamaicans. Now that's your business.
But don't blame Dr Phillips. Our stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stalled last May (under the previous administration). As a result, we have been denied much-needed funds, including US$220 million due from the Inter-American Development Bank. Dr Phillips' options are few. Our economy has stagnated for decades; it is unlikely we will suddenly grow our way out of our current predicament. Unfortunately, more debt is perhaps the only way to finance our budget in the short term and convene a new agreement with the IMF for the medium term - one that will require severe belt tightening, drastically impacting Jamaica's social fabric.
For far too long we've been concerned with celebrity developments rather than economic development. We've been trying to live like the Kennedys and Kardashians without producing or innovating. We've been partying on borrowed time and money. And now we are alarmingly short on both. Our hangover is here. Dr Phillips will soon be delivering the medicine. And it won't be sweet. We all played our part in breeding this beast. Now we'll all have to get through sleepless nights and stressful days together.
It's not just Yendi, Chino, and child who will require God's guidance and protection.
Din Duggan is an attorney working as a consultant with a global legal search firm. Email him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or view his past columns at facebook.com/dinduggan and twitter.com/YoungDuggan