Anthony Gambrill | Who is going to pay for the wall, er, welcome sign?
Gladstone: Woody, what is it you think is giving the prime minister nightmares?
Woodrow: It’s in the newspaper, once you get past the latest Petrojam scandal, Cornwall Hospital update, PEP cover-ups, JIS press releases, corporate donations and supplements.
Gladdy: So what is the nightmare then?
Woody: The new $17 million dollar “Welcome” sign being built at the entrance to Montego Bay airport has caused quite a controversy.
Gladdy: Oh, I thought it would be climate change.
Woody: No, that’s no problem. We haven’t had a hurricane for three years.
Gladdy: Why do we need to spend $17 million on a sign, anyway?
Woody: Well, the Minister of Tourism, Mr Bartlett, says it’s to show appreciation for all of those arriving visitors who chose Jamaica.
Gladdy: Is it going to have the minister’s picture on it?
Woody: I’m not sure, but if The Gleaner has anything to go by, I’m sure it will.
Gladdy: How do you mean?
Woody: The other day, there were eight photos of him, so his smiling face must count for something.
Gladdy: But why do we need a new sign? Isn’t the old one good enough?
Woody: A taxi crashed into it. It seems it was a traffic hazard where it’s located.
Gladdy: So where is the $17 million replacement going?
Woody: Same place.
Gladdy: That should ratchet up MoBay’s accident statistics. Now, who is going to stump up the $17 million.
Woody: You. Me. Us taxpayers.
Gladdy: Hmmm … I have a better idea. Since the Spanish hotels and Sandals easily have the most rooms and the most guests, surely they will benefit most from the “Welcome” sign?
Woody: So they should cover almost all of the cost, right?
Woody: That would keep taxpayers, Mr Bartlett, and the PM having sweet dreams, not nightmares.
Gladdy: Find anything more in the newspaper?
Woody: Yes, the PM is going to provide homes for the homeless … .
Gladdy: … maybe he should give up one of his?
Woody: But homes for the homeless will cost $500 million. There was a billion dollars for Christmas work and Government plans to spend another $200 million of the Capital Development Fund.
Gladdy: So maybe we can afford a $17-million welcome sign.
Woody: Then there’s some good news and some bad news.
Gladdy: The good news first.
Woody: The good news is that the road dislocation in Kingston is nearly finished. You know, Three Miles, Hagley Park, Constant Spring Road, Barbican, and so on.
Gladdy: The bad news?
Woody: The prime minister is planning a bypass for An,notto Bay, Spur Tree, Hope Bay and Lucea.
Gladdy: What’s bad about that?
Woody: That’s where the phones will be dislocated next.
Gladdy: Anything more in the paper?
Woody: Yes, the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Disheries, Mr Audley Shaw, says his party created 80,000 new jobs, with hundreds more to come.
Gladdy: Before the next election, of course. So he is smiling like Mr Bartlett?
Woody: Everyone except the PNP.
Gladdy: Don’t worry. I hear they’re getting inexpensive voodoo dolls of Andrew Holness.
Woody: Made in Haiti, I suppose.
Gladdy: Of course. And we’ll send them some more ganja in return.
Woody: By the way, isn’t your birthday coming up?
Gladdy: Yes, I’ll be twenty-nine again, like my wife always is on her birthday.
Woody: Well, I have a suggestion to make it a special day.
Gladdy: What’s that?
Woody: Have Mr Wheatley get you a birthday cake.
Gladdy: Why so?
Woody: Then Petrojam can cough up the US$1,000. That will make you happy next time you fill up at the gas station.
- Anthony Gambrill is a playwright. Email feedback to email@example.com.