He who is (not) jovial

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I have been watching the events of the unfolding contest for leadership of the People's National Party (PNP) between sitting president, Dr Peter Phillips, and challenger Peter Bunting.

For what it is worth, I have a nugget of observation of the Jamaican people to share with Dr Phillips.

Whenever there is a tragic death in a community and the television cameras go to the vox populi to get a sense of the character of the deceased, the first or second words those interviewed usually utter are, “(S)he was jovial.” Even children who have met untimely deaths are remembered as jovial.

This concern with how jovial the deceased was ranks higher than any other qualities (s)he may have had. Joviality trumps competence, discipline, being hard-working or principled. What the people like to remember is that the deceased was a jovial person.

The Oxford Dictionary defines jovial as friendly or very cheerful, while the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines jovial as markedly good-humoured, especially as evidenced by cheerfulness.

Dr Phillips speaks, thinks and acts like a competent, principled, disciplined, hard-working leader, but if the delegates are anything like the general Jamaican public they will want a leader who is jovial — the antithesis of Dr Phillips.

Spare a thought for those who want a jovial leader, Dr Phillips.

Martha Brae


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