Since independence in 1962, Jamaica has had eight Governors General — seven locals and one British.
These are the people who represent the British Monarchy which we, inexplicably, unlike some other of the former colonies, kept after getting our independence.
This office of Governor General, which costs the taxpayers of Jamaica more than $400 million per year, really has no useful role. In fact, from my observation, their main function has been cutting ribbons and making boring official speeches.
Of course, civics teachers will tell you that their primary function is to declare the opening of annual budget debates and outline the Government’s policies for the new financial year.
That’s just pomp and ceremony though, for the speech the Governor General delivers is given to him by the Prime Minister’s office.
The only real beneficiaries of this colonial post are those who value British tiles and traditions and, of course, the incumbent who gets to live free in a splendiferous 16,000 square feet Georgian style great house with hundreds of acres of idle land and a huge wine cellar to boot.
In my book, this post has been nothing but a colossal waste of money which I used to get quite upset over, considering how many needy people and projects we have which could more effectively give the country value for the $400 million.
But since the average taxpayer has never had a problem with their money going down the drain, I have learnt to hold my tongue over the years.
However, while on radio in 2017, I just couldn’t hold back when the holder of the office, caused the Shaggy and Friends concert, which raised desperately needed funds for the Bustamante Hospital for Children, to have to be cancelled.
For according to Shaggy, “One of the problems we were having is getting the East Lawn of King’s House. Without the East Lawn it’s chaos … but we had a little bit of an issue with the now sitting Governor-General who didn’t want us to use the East Lawn. We went back and forth for years upon years and I had everybody, straight up to the former prime minister, everybody that I would think of, to talk to him. Last year, with a lot of back and forth, him finally kinna cave and gave us the parking lot so we figured that we good now, we can stage another one again. He sent me a letter pretty much saying ‘don’t ask mi bout dah parking lot deh again period’. The letter is here and I’m willing to give it to you,” Shaggy said.
Can you believe that the needy hospital that treats the children of the poor was deprived of the funds raised when Jamaican artistes lend their talents to the cause, because of a parochial thinking office holder who does not respect the fact that the property belongs to the taxpayers of the country?
To add insult to injury, this action was taken by an office holder who is of no benefit to the nation!
That one really took the case, so I concluded from then, that of all the holders of the office, the incumbent Patrick Allen had to be the worst.
Very little has been heard out of him since then, not even the usual proliferation of ribbon cutting, for this Governor General is an Adventist. So you know doing anything on a Saturday is off their calendar although that had always been our favourite day for ceremonies.
You will see from my blogs over the years, (eg; Joan, my views: The case for republicanism (joan-myviews.blogspot.com) that I have never failed to write articles encouraging the Jamaican Government to amend the constitution so we can become a republic, but most Jamaicans only paid attention to the issue when our little sister Barbados made the move in 2022.
The Government has now said they are going to work on it, (been hearing that from other governments for about 30 years) so I still won’t my breath.
So why this topic today? Its because the disgraceful picture below has gone viral. It shows the wife of the Governor General sleeping at Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Pagent!
If she was a busy person, I could easily forgive her as she could be tired. But since she and her husband have so little to do and are handsomely paid to do virtually nothing, couldn’t she at least have organized herself so as not embarrass us at such an auspicious world event?