Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Garth Rattray | 8,334,764.97

Published:Monday | July 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM

If it were kilometres, it would circle the earth 334.7 times over,

And the same distance, a quarter of the way, it would take the Mars rover

If it were years, it would be 8,134,764.97 before Adam was created

And it would be 5,665,235 years after the last dinosaur was ill-fated.

If it were seconds, it would be three months out of our lives

If it were bees, there would be 119 large hives

If it were population, it would be the Israelis in the world

If it were hours, it would be 952.5 years that the world had twirled.

You'd have to stack 1,666 elephants to get that ponderous weight

And it would take 918 large trucks to carry all that freight

That could take you to Earth's core 650 times and back

To take that on a trip abroad, 416,738 suitcases you'd have to pack.

If those were words, you'd have to read one month without ever stopping

That weight in popcorn means that, 41,673,825 bags you'd be popping

If it were tons, it would weigh 13,023 times the heaviest aircraft ever flown

If it were people, it would be the number in all of New York town.

In some areas that could buy a very decent one-bedroom apartment

In others, it could purchase a new home, so you no longer would pay rent

For that money, you could get a fully loaded luxury car

And it could get six second-hand vehicles for the police force to go far.

Imagine what that could do to feed poor families

And how many lives, it could save of our casualties

It could send many children to school, who otherwise go astray

And end up robbing, even killing, innocent citizens every day.

It could help to pave our streets and save our cars from harm

It could purchase fertiliser to help poor people farm

The sad and suffering destitute can never comprehend

The terrible waste of precious money by their parliamentary friend.

For the want of one small nail, the shoe, horse, rider and battle did a king lose

Similarly, for the want of one small swipe, Audley put his neck in the noose

Just turning off 'data roaming', millions would he save,

With Jamaica struggling to survive, fiscal responsibility do we crave.

If it were private enterprise, his job he would have lost

They would fire him on the spot, because of the line he crossed

But government agencies in Jamaica don't seem to realise

The money they spend is squeezed from us amid our plaintive cries.

They treat our money carelessly, as if from a bottomless pit

They run up bills, on anything, without thinking much of it

In other jurisdictions, in many countries near and far away

That sort of thing would prompt a resignation, in office he could not stay.

There's a nonchalant mentality pervading our governmental bureaucracy

The prodigious bills were totally ignored throughout the finance ministry.

No red flags went up, no alarms raised when our millions flew away,

It's no problem, for you see, someone else will have to pay.

And then when that thing hit the fan and all the mess did fly,

No heads did roll, no terminations, these things always slide by

When will we learn and insist on culpability?

It's not about them, it's all about us, people just like you and me.

But politics takes precedence, over lives, both the great and small,

It's been there in the beginning and it will be the cause of our downfall

It's especially distressing coming from someone in such a high office

Such flagrant exhibition of fiscal negligence isn't even worthy of a novice.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.