Thu | Dec 1, 2022

Gordon Robinson | How tight is too tight?

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2022 | 12:06 AM

One of dominoes’ key strategies is to keep it tight.

You should always try to limit opponents’ options. Say a game proceeds with partner posing double-six; left-hand-opponent (LHO) playing six-five; you, five-four; right-hand opponent (RHO), six-trey; partner double-trey; and LHO four-blank.

Your original hand:

six-ace; six-blank; five-four; double-four; trey-blank; double-ace; double-blank.

Because you hold trey-blank, you can safely “draw” double-blank. RHO can’t go two treys and will have to choose which of his side’s dominoes to “cut”. But suppose that instead of trey-blank, you held ace-blank, then you play double-blank at your peril. Play blank-six. Don’t worry about double-blank. Your opponents have seen you “cut” blank so will probably present it to you again.

Keep it tight.

The Gleaner reported:

“Former head of the army, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, has been appointed Cabinet Secretary and head of the public service …

“In a media release on Tuesday (September 13), PM Andrew Holness said ‘Meade’s years of experience in government will be an asset to the public service …’”

PM relied on Meade’s “years of experience” so was aware of Meade’s résumé. The Gleaner continued:

“Meade said he is optimistic about his new role.

‘… I pledge to further the positive evolution of the public service for the benefit of wider society’ ”

Almost immediately, Cabinet Office described Meade’s role as “the most senior policy adviser in the civil service. He is [not might be] secretary to the Cabinet, responsible to all ministers for the running of Cabinet and is also the head of the civil service”.

Wow. Head of the Civil Service? Did nobody wonder if a private citizen could assume that post?

“As [Cabinet] secretary, he provides support and advice to government and oversees the provision of policy and secretariat support to Cabinet and Cabinet committees. He organises [Cabinet] minutes and conveys [Cabinet] decisions.”

Oh, dear. A private citizen, unrestrained by the Official Secrets Act, “overseeing” policy and “organising” Cabinet minutes? As an Australian girl knocking on Gary’s room door in 1961 said, “Can I? Can I?” Of course, Gary replied, “‘Gor’ Blin’ woman! My name is SOBERS!” If you are born after 1970, you’ll have to work that one out.

CACOPHONY OF CONTROVERSY

A cacophony of controversy followed, arguing that the appointment was unambiguously unconstitutional. Then Jamaica was treated to a circus clown act whereby Rocky Meade, victim of this inexcusable faux pas, was placed on a political unicycle and made to pedal backwards in full public view. In a statement issued on OPM letterhead late on September 15, Meade said his appointment was an “offer” that he decided to “decline”.

OMG!

But there’s worse. During September 21’s post-Cabinet briefing, de facto Information Minister Robert Morgan, for whom verbosity seems an art form, suddenly decided to keep it tight. But how tight is too tight? In response to questions about Government’s rocky road, he decided to play Sergeant Shultz. This despite live-posting from that same briefing a podium photo with the accompanying comment “Live Post Cabinet Press Briefing happening now. Questions & Answer segment, where all questions will be answered!”

DWL! As the topic turned to Rocky, he refused to answer on the ground that he wasn’t personally involved in the recommendation or appointment process. But according to Rocky, the PM certainly was. Rocky (w)rote:

“I was advised by the [Cabinet] Office that I would receive a letter of appointment … for the post of Cabinet Secretary on the recommendation of the Prime Minister … .”

After ducking, dodging, bobbing, and weaving, Morgan failed to answer ALL questions, instead pronouncing haughtily:

“The position is that the matter regarding this issue is a settled matter. There’s no outstanding issue to be dealt with … .”

Wha, wha, WHAT?

Did the PM take legal advice on the matter before announcing the appointment? If yes, from whom? If not, WHY NOT? Is this, as many allege, another example of Government’s contempt for the Constitution? Or arrogance cultivated by a lop-sided Parliament? Or recklessness? Or negligence? Or incompetence? We the people are entitled to and demand an explanation for this glaringly gauche governance.

After Kamina’s campaign-funding issue was a “settled matter”, Morgan gave some information before refusing to make full disclosure and sitting down in a huff. Was he personally involved in those processes?

We the people are entitled to know who paid, who was paid, and how. We the people are entitled to know who, if anyone, advised the PM to recommend a private citizen to be in charge of the Civil Service with access to confidential Cabinet papers. Tell us! Answer ALL questions!

Peace and Love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.