Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sabina Pork Barrel

Pictures of Jamaica and elsewhere are all very well, but I haven't taken any decent ones in a while, and feel the need to post something.

Only a few days left before the official opening of the Cricket World Cup - at a spanking new stadium in the back of beyond. In a country that has one of the highest (if not the highest) rates of debt per capita the Greenback Fields stadium has been built only for the opening ceremony. With that kind of fiscal responsibility, it makes you wonder how we ever got into this position in the first place.

The actual games are to take place in Sabina Pork, which has been radically transformed into what should be an equally impressive stadium. Total cost to the country is said to be $8.17 billion. Hopefully any positive spin-offs will exceed that - but it seems doubtful.

Meanwhile a group of church members are now busy trying to tart-up Kingston just in time for our guests - cleaning streets and what not. But they may need to clean-up much more than they bargained for, as they dodge all the mud that is being slung at them from afar.

What sort of Christians are they, it is asked, if the only time they ever venture to do anything about Jamaica's social decay is when some foreigners are coming over to watch cricket? Why not before? What about after? Or why at all as what do we pay taxes for? And why don't they get excited about crime - murder especially? But government should be happy anyway, that somebody is doing something - as should most people, many of whom may have forgotten what a clean city looks like.

So far there doesn't seem to be any overwhelming feel-good factor at play. There's no real buzz. I wonder if this is what Athens felt like just before the Olympics?

But the governing party will be hoping that these games will be such a success that the electorate will feel like adding another five years to their 18 years in power. A miraculous win by the WI would probably do just that. If I knew enough about cricket I could put in a few funny lines here about sticky wickets, spin bowlers and googlies and things like that. But I don't, so I won't.

And now that the government claims it has paid back Trafigura Bequeer for the $31 million dollars that mysteriously ended up in their party's coffers- it is hoping that the claims of hanky panky will die a convenient death.

That, however, is as likely to happen as the West Indies becoming the next world champions.

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