Sunday Brew — March 29, 2020

News

Sunday Brew — March 29, 2020

with HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 29, 2020

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Elephant Man should have been caged

Elephants usually have long trunks, with which they can do anything, including defend themselves to the 'max' in any difficult jungle.

But there is a two-legged one in Jamaica who cannot use whatever physical advantage he might have to allow him to escape from the wild, wild world of buffoonery.

This man, who is idolised by so many in Jamaica and elsewhere [for God knows why], is so silly that whenever he comes out of his quarantine cage, he ought to have himself examined once more to see if he shouldn't be sent to a psychiatrist for a round of examination.

How could this fellow, whose name I'm told is O'Neil Bryan, not only turn himself into an elephant, but behave in the reckless way that the nation witnessed when he returned from his European tour two weeks ago. Not only did he give a false declaration to the immigration officer that he faced at Sangster International Airport, but even when he tried to set things right he was clearly not in touch with the statement that he was given to read from his cellphone.

For those who are late, the entertainer should have been quarantined when he returned from his tour of certain European countries now dreadfully affected by COVID-19. He was not, because he was dishonest.

My only disappointment with the entire saga with the fellow is that the police waited as long as they did to quarantine him. Further, he should not have been quarantined at a designated Government house. He should have gone straight to jail.

I'm hoping that some of these elephants, sorry deejays, will learn from the senior elephant's experience. My view that the lyrics of these deejays nowadays contribute to 30 per cent of Jamaica's crime remains intact. This island could be such a wonderful place to live if we had fewer deejays polluting the atmosphere with those unwise and truly disgusting utterances some people call lyrics.

Don't slaughter the Gleaner journalist

Last Sunday, the Gleaner newspaper came in for some amount of bashing from the public in respect of the publication's lead story which indicated that medical workers – specifically doctors and nurses – had tested positive for the coronavirus, arising from their contact with infected people.

What followed that was a mixed bag, with Chief Executive of the RJR/Gleaner Communications Group Gary Allen issuing an apology of sorts on the day that the article was published, but the criticisms still followed.

Newspapers, in fact media organisations and individuals involved in the business, will make mistakes. I have made quite a few in my decades of practising in the field, because you will never always get it right. I have received flak for those errors, but the bottom line is to pick yourself up if you fall, and move forward, learning from the last mistake that something like that should never be repeated.

In all of this impasse with that Gleaner story though, I'm yet to be convinced that the reporter did something wrong. I know Mr Livern Barrett. I would not call him a friend in the classic definition of the word, but he is someone that I correspond with whenever we meet, and I do have respect for him and his work. It seems odd, to me, that he would include certain information in an article if it were erroneous. And then, he is the reporter. Did his submitted story not raise a red flag in the face of his senior editors, which would have warranted some clarity?

As a practitioner, I wish all media personnel the very best. I am never envious of anyone, neither do I engage in open competition. Everyone can live. Everyone should live. We can be opponents, but we don't have to be enemies.

This whole issue has still left some fog along the narrow roadway. Maybe the Gleaner has the full story, but I see no reason to be bashing Barrett in the manner in which he is being chastised. It seems that the only thing left to be done is place his neck on the chopping block. That's not necessary. For him, I hope that this will be simply a little situation from which he will recover fully, and continue to do some of the quality work that he has put out over the years.

We should be told about Dr Phillips's illness

Last week the nation was informed that Dr Peter Phillips, the leader of the Opposition, had undergone a surgical procedure at a medical facility in Jamaica.

Follow-up information was later relayed by the People's National Party, which Dr Phillips leads, that he was recovering and was expected to be fully fit again in short order. But that is beside the point. I wish Dr Phillips well, because he is a good man and he means this country the very best. But as leader of the Opposition, the nation must be told of his illness, so that the population is kept abreast of what is happening.

Like the prime minister, the medical records of Dr Phillips should be made public. Even if one of them bucks a toe, it should be told to the people of Jamaica. Anything less would be unacceptable.

I'm still awaiting the PNP, or Dr Phillips himself, to state what the medical challenge is.

Why is Pearnel Charles Jr not reappointed?

The delay might be blamed on COVID-19 but I hope that Prime Minister Holness moves speedily to reappoint Pearnel Charles Jr as a member of his Cabinet.

Before Charles Jr resigned as a member of the Senate, and naturally gave up his Cabinet responsibilities in order to contest the Clarendon South Eastern seat vacated via resignation by Ruddy Spencer, he had portfolio responsibility for water, housing, and infrastructure. He was doing well, certainly in terms of the linkages that he forged, in moving water projects to greater heights.

I have a fascination for the younger Charles' interest in the desalination project that he had been working on to ease the chronic water shortage that has beset this country for decades.

The by-election was held on March 2. It is now March 29. The final count has come and gone – no issues there. So now it's time. Charles Jr is one of the bright young men of Jamaican politics. His skills would redound significantly to the success of the Government led by Andrew Holness.

At 42, he doesn't have to work from home, nor would he be exposed to the curfew of those aged 75 and older, that has been imposed upon everyone so qualified, except for non-performing politicians.

COVID-19 has messed up a many things, maybe even this reappointment. Perhaps, Mr Holness would have gone ahead and called a general election already, had it not been for this unwarranted external intervention.

It is now unlikely that the general election will be held before October, but in the meantime, Mr Holness should summon the Governor General into action in respect of young Charles.


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