Mon | Jun 24, 2019

Anthony Gambrill | Who is going to pay for the wall, er, welcome sign?

Published:Sunday | January 27, 2019 | 12:00 AM
The new $17 million ‘Welcome to Montego Bay’ sign in St James.

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?

Gladdy: 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