All those Jamaican fans of American TV soap operas and dramas are missing out on some decent drama unfolding, with mainly local characters and made locally. Better still, it’s live, so one is never sure what will happen. Where should I start? The past few days have pitted, the strong-jawwed former Commissioner of Police (Owen ‘I rarely smile’ Ellington) against an attorney for INDECOM (Terrence ‘My smile comes from Walmart’ Williams). The two have what seems like a toxic dislike for each other, that is barely hidden whenever they interact in the room presided over by Sir David (‘I is a Bajan’) Simmons. Ellington is won’t to show what seems like boredom by fiddling with his pen, and then putting his hands together, as in prayer, just in front of his mouth. Williams, head cocked to one side, and chin resting on hand, with a little glinting eye, above a somewhat rogueish goatee, often sits like a man about to tell a long-shaggy dog-story, as he begins his questioning, which is often long and shaggy.
The substance of their interactions this time is the police role in the May 2010 attempts to arrest a man known by his Brazilain-style one-name, ‘Dudus’. But, really, that is cover for a series of darts flung laboriously by Williams and parried stoically by Ellington, with a few bowls of boiling oil hurled by the former policeman back across the room. Yesterday, was a doozy. I will only give a taste.
I forget what Williams asked, precisely, but Ellington shot back “Nonsense!” Well, who tell him fi say dat? Mr. Williams, suddenly struck by a bout of thin-skinnnedness, turned to the Commssion Chairman and asked that he direct the witness to treat him with the courtesy that he had extended to the witness. For those who had been watching, they would know that the courtesy occurred before live transmission began, so most missed it. The questioning continued, and after the next reply by Ellington, we could all hear, for it was said out loud by Williams, “So you say.” Well, hold on! Oh, it’s OK. Another attornery, for the JCF, Ms. Debra Martin, jumped up, handbag flailing, and asked the Commission Chairman if this was not also a disrespectful remark. “So you say?” she repeated, adding that this made it sound as if the witness were lying. There was a little silence, and we could then hear the dulcet voice of Mr. Ellington say “He’s reciprocating.”
Well, I watched goggle-eyed, to see if the two men would stand up and hug in open session. But, this is Jamaica, and that kind of bro-mance, especially during daytime TV, is frowned upon.
Sir David, who had told those listening the previous day that all they had to do was “Watch my pen” to see if what they were say was deemed relevant by him, had his pen in a state of staticness. Not a move, not even a shiver. (I’m sure he muttered “How West Indies doing?”)
I can understand that relations between INDECOM and JCF are at best frosty and at worst down-right hostile, but boys, come on. We’re all grown up, and children are watching. Is this playground behavour really needed?
Well, it is! It’s part of courtroom theatre and it’s what attorneys love. After years of being raised on court-room dramas, like ‘Perry Mason’ and ‘Ironside’, I know that the knock-down style is how lawyers see they have to operate. That it’s really boring and not impressive to the rest of us is not that important. Look at the wallet, dude! Cha-ching! “Valet, bring me the Benz. No, pull out the Caddy.”
Oh, what facts did I learn from the exchanges so far? Oh, hang on, let me look at my notes, like Sir David. Oh, I see a doodle, and a list of things to work on with my golf teacher. On the other side of the paper? Hmm. Oh, that’s embarrassing. It’s blank. Oh, well. Another day wasted.