I didn’t get a chance to soak in the news about the cost of the Tivoli Enquiry as I was on the road a lot the past two days. I’ve now had a chance to do so. I’ve become an immediate alcoholic. The limited figures are just mind-boggling. A budget of J$50 million, and all of that is already consumed by the fee for the chairman? It seems that the total will be J$400 million.

Government overspending is a common problem. Usually, it’s with capital projects. This is quite different.

I’ve wondered in moments of whimsy and confusion if the real issue for Jamaica is not that its technicians don’t know what they are doing: the IMF knows, for example, that the Jamaican team understands financial programming very well. It may be a simple matter of ‘language’–maths language.

Snuggle up to your favourite equation

Snuggle up to your favourite equation

We are accustomed to counting in base-10, 0, 1…10. But, you can count in other bases, e.g., base-8. Look at the examples in the link. What it means, basically, is that a number is not a number as normally understood. We need to ask in what base it’s been calculated. If that is the heart of Jamaica’s problems, yippee! I hope that each department or ministry does not use its own base.

If you don’t understand what the examples show, I can go over it slowly, for a small fee. Or, you can try your hardest to understand and deal with the headaches afterwards by taking the remaining Panadol that were not used when you had Chik-V.

I say simple, but everything is relative. I did this stuff when I was about 13, and I understood and remembered the basics. I cannot manipulate in base-3 as quickly as in base-10, but give me time.

But, let’s assume that the maths language is not the problem. Then, we are back in the world of what the fudge is doing all over the pot cover. We blink in utter disbelief at the ‘gin gang goolie’ that passes for public administration in this little island, created by aliens and left to confuse the rest of the planet.

The Commission is taking a break, no doubt to ensure that all the money due was paid to the commissioners and the assisting attorneys. I hope it’s all taxed so that the ministry of finance can get some back.

But, as Mutabaruka noted today during ‘Steppin’ Razor–the art of war’, on Irie FM, all the people of Tivoli really want is compensation. The Enquiry is not really set up to help them, there. Now, with nearly $400 million due to be spent to ask a lot of questions that really lead nowhere that people cannot figure out with fewer words, I fear another festering sore, more public discontent and distrust.

Wanti, wanti, no getti. Getti, getti, no wanti.