Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Comings or goings?

Published:Tuesday | January 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Is Peter Phillips coming or going? According to columnist Gordon Robinson, Phillips' current support for public-sector wage increases is in contradiction to his message of ultra-austerity when he was finance minister.

It wasn't unusual for the Beast to wait outside Autry's home in his car while Gene and I searched for a fourth.

Those were the days of no cell phones and no air-conditioned cars, so you had to find people and talk face to face. I would always express concern about leaving the Beast in his hot car, but Autry's automatic response was, "Let the Beast boil! We'll have him for dinner!" We returned without a fourth, but as we were about to deliver the bad news, we heard, away in the distance, "If a macca, mek it jook yu!"

Saved by the Dunce! My first hand included double-six, six-five, five-four, double-four, four-blank, trey-deuce, ace-blank. Double-six posed was compulsory; the Beast played six-four; Autry four-deuce; the Dunce six-trey. Where should I put trey-deuce? Answer at the end. No peeking.

Regular kibitzer 'Haemorrhoid' arrived and insisted on telling one of his tall tales. Ernest H. Flower, a talker not a worker, constantly complained about the "piles and piles" of files on his desk. His story was about three sisters.

"Three elderly Trinidadian sisters live together. Sadie, the eldest, was 96 years old. Her sister, Irma, was 92, and the youngest, Linda, 90.

"One day, Linda, having showered and dried herself, was stepping out of the bath when with one foot in and one out, she forgot why. 'Shoot, man,' she muttered to herself in a rich Trini accent, 'are I going in di bathtub?' She looked over her shoulder for a clue but none appeared. 'Or was I coming out di damn bathtub?'

"She called out to her sister for help. 'Irma! I were going in or coming out di damn bathtub? I forget!' Irma was in the kitchen making soup 'Ah coming to check,' she shouted to Linda and started climbing the stairs to get to the bathroom. 'Ah coming!' she repeated while on the stairs. On the middle step, she stopped to catch her breath. Suddenly, she muttered to herself, 'I were going up?' She looked over her shoulder as if the steps could answer, but there was no response. 'Or I were going down?'




Not getting any answers, she called out to the eldest sister for help. 'Sadie!' she exclaimed. 'I were going up or I were going down?' Sadie was sitting at the dining table with her knitting material. 'Good God, man,' she said to herself. 'My sisters stupid or what?' She shook her head. 'I hope I never turn stupid like dem two, boy. Lemme knock on wood,' which she did (on the table) three times then got up and headed towards the front door. 'I coming! Who dat?'"

I remembered Haemorrhoid's story of uncertain comings and goings while reading a pre-Christmas tweet from the opposition leader's Twitter account (Government having offered a police six per cent increase over two years on top of income-tax breaks, albeit somewhat illusory, already granted):

"Peter D Phillips @PDPhillipsJa

Today we visited Hunt's Bay, Half-Way-Tree and Spanish Town Police Stations. The police spoke about the strain, limited equipment, inability to effectively police and disappointment with how the wage negotiation is being handled by the gov't. We stand with them. #Respect"

We stand with them?

Finance Minister Peter Phillips addressing the nation (June 2015) after offering public-sector workers four per cent in the first year and three per cent in the second following five years of public-sector wage freeze:

"What the Government has offered in the wage negotiations is what we can afford at this time. While we appreciate the demand for a higher rate of increases, at this time, we simply cannot afford it."

We stand with them?

Finance Minister Phillips (January 8, 2015), as reported by RJR News:

"I've every hope and confidence that the same spirit that guided earlier negotiations when wage restraint was accepted will be available to us as we seek to make up some of the lost ground" and "it's not possible to do everything that probably would ... be justified, and which may be expected."

Does he remember whether he's coming or going?

Peace and love.

P.S.: Am I coming or going? Domino instinct is to 'go' deuces and 'support' Autry, but correct technique is to 'go' treys and expect four to 'come'. Autry may simply have cut what he took to be the Beast's card and avoided cutting my pose. I'm still 'in front' and I want fours. Trey-four is still out (not deuce-four), so there's a good chance treys will bring forth trey-four and give me more control over the hand.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to