If you didn’t know better, and most people don’t, you take what ‘big people’ say without much scrutiny. When that obsequiousness is mingled with political bias, your big person is right, and righter, whenever the other side see issue with what is said. The big person, if a politician, also, sometimes forgets that the world is not just the political sand pit.
So, let’s take a look at this Abu Bakr episode with that kind of viewpoint.
Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, decided that this Trinidadian Muslim radical was not welcome in Jamaica. The obvious questions have been asked, such as “When did it occur to the Minister that Mr. Bakr should not be allowed in?” “If he was so potentially troublesome to Jamaica, why did we not make sure his nation knew this and our minister put him on a ‘no fly’ list?” The answers have been fluffy. Nothing was in place to bar the arrival of this ‘undesirable’. Let’s call that a ball dropped.
So, we don’t want him. That’s our right.
The Minister then wants us to believe the reasons for his concerns. He talked vaguely about links amongst terrorist groups. He added, when the matter of detaining Mr. Bakr was raised, that he was concerned he would radicalise those he may contact. You know, that sounds do flaky that I waited for the snap, crackle and pop of a bowl of cereal.
You really think in the age of the Internet, that people who are susceptible to having their minds bent are waiting for someone to come to change them? Hello! Such contact is limited and outdated. Ever heard of Skype or video conferencing? Why on earth would a keen radical have to wait for such a random direct opportunity? Why would he not have had his trained conversion squad working the ground already? It’s such a naive set of arguments.
Add to this, some political surrogates talking about ‘nefarious plot’, and we have to wonder if the whole legalization of ganja had a certain known effect.
Let’s hold that there.
We get to why Mr. Bakr had to be given the private jet ride for J$4 million. He reportedly became boisterous and uncooperative. Most Jamaicans must have wondered if our security forces had just come from the spa, and were so infused with good Karma that they were just stroking Mr. Bakr’s hand, murmuring that all will be well. What happened to the brutal force to which we’ve been accustomed? Where are our boys from Tivoli? One politician suggested putting the uncooperative one on a JDF plane and giving him the beef jerky inflight meal. We lost the plot?
This supposed bad behaviour was not enough for Mr. Bakr to be charged with an offence. Really? Which is it? That’s a credible claim? We couldn’t hold him a day or two and get him his 1st class seat?
The Minister has dragged a few red herrings across the trail. Home insurance analogy? Bogus comparison. The horse bolted and now the door is being closed. He insured nothing, because the real threat cannot possibly be so limited to one leader. Bin Laden killed. Al Qaida still causing havoc. Get the idea?
He alluded to Dudus and what delay did. Come on! Do better then that! More pertinent, Dudus went and violent crimes and gangs are still thriving. Just read about the latest east Kingston shootout.
We worry about foreign radicalization? We have rampant domestic criminalization. What’s the real scourge in our society? What’s more destabilizing?
The deeper issues are also about transparency and accountability. Why has the Minister not said who rented him the plane? It can’t remain a secret.
If the security issues were so clear and imminent, then why not say that, rather than inferring that something sinister may occur, if Mr. Bakr set foot in Jamaica.
It smacked of scare-mongering. It smacks of it, still. The story doesn’t add up. The dots are not joined.