I really admire my friend, Emma Lewis, and the way she presses causes and writes in a way that challenges stated and standard positions. I’m not going to step into her garden, so to speak, by emulating her twice weekly summaries. But, I cannot wrap my head around just one topic today, so I am going the route of little ‘blasts’.
UWI–the smell has just gotten out of hand: Gender-based harassment and violence has been a long-standing problem on the Mona Campus. Anecdotes tell you that, and I have on record complaints from women I know who said that they reported incidents to the university security office. However, UWI went into ‘three monkeys mode’ and tried to act as if this was just the figment of imaginations. Then, baboom, a girl gets attacked and suddenly all seems clear. Run! Go get water! Put out the fire!
I say to my little daughter more than once a week that the truth is the easiest position to hold and remember, because it is. Also, you will get caught, even if you think you’ve gotten away with something. It’s just the way our world is. Time for UWI to stop the silly pretence and protect the important female bodies of the student body.
How many lawyers does it take to figure out a court decision? If I did not know better, I’d think that lawyers were only interested in billable hours. When the Supreme Court ruled on Mr. Holness and his pre-signed resignation letters, it seemed to be that the next step was easy: reinstate Messrs Tufton and Williams because the court ruled that the letters were null and void. That means you go back to the situation that existed before they thought they had resigned. Whether the court decision was ‘declaratory’ or whatever, it was clear what it had decided. Everything that flowed from the apparent resignations ‘never happened’ legally. But, Huff, Puff and Blowdown, our well-known national law firm had to have more say. Good grief! Just take off the wigs and dust off the talcum powder! Let’s get back from Fairyland, and have the real Senators in place so that the declaration has its sensible outcome. After all, the Constitution only allows for a certain number of Senators, so stop fooling around and just do the maths.
I’m sorry for Messrs Clarke and Reid, as they seemed to be making good contributions to the Senate. I don’t think their votes can be rescinded, but will let Hansard or the equivalent shows the relevance of their contributions and votes. What a mess! Power corrupts, but …
We have some awkward financial and other realities to address, though, and I hope that common sense prevails. So, the stipends the Senators who were not Senators got for the work that they were doing illegally, should stay in their pockets. Messrs Tufton and Williams never did any work while on ‘furlough’, so no stipends for them. Maybe the stipend money paid just goes into a fund to help some needy group (to be determined by the Governor General?). If it was already spent, well so be it.
West Tivoli Commission of Enquiry: sometimes, you get to learn too much. I think the lawyers–yes, them again–are having a field day with the current crop of witnesses, members of the executive branch of government. We all get to see politicians squirm and even grovel under the sometimes relentless questioning of the panel of lawyers representing Tivoli residents, ‘Trevor’, ‘Shakwanda’, ‘Duppy Man’, and ‘Miss Charmaine’, and the JDF and JCF. BIff! Bam! Slam them to the floor.
One lawyer took exception to the tone and line of questioning of former PM Bruce Golding. “I don’t think you need to badger the witness…” said a lawyer. “You call that badgering?” came the feisty reply from a younger-looking attorney. Well, take off your shoes and let’s get down to scratching and biting. It was badgering, but guess what? It’s how the wrestling gets done when you put lawyers into the mix.
In the process, though, we are seeing–dare I say it–that the government of Jamaica is not a truly functional body and it has so many gaps in how those who are so-called in ministerial charge discharge their duties that it may frighten the pants off my pants. The PM was “NOT aware” of so much that ought to have known–requests for surveillance plane from the US; the ‘safe location’ of the man who was supposedly being hunted; that the JDF was going to use mortars that would damage and kill. That’s a litany of ignorance that is baffling. One can rightly ask “Who’s in charge of the ship? Anyone?”
I now feel a little–just a tad–sympathy for PM Simpson Miller, who seemed to be bypassed by those who were supposed to be advisors or functionaries who reported to her on her ministerial responsibilities. A sense of free-wheeling actions and decisions taking place as a matter of routine is coming out clearly. Ministers say “I am not aware” is going to be as tired a phrase as any I’ve heard in a long time.
I’m no fan of politicians, so am grinning a little as their impotence is expose.
I apologize if lawyers feel a bit put upon. I went to law school, too; well, I went for one day, and decided that it was not for me. 🙂 Now, look at me!