Last weekend, several Jamaican high schools competed at The Little Theatre in the finals of the Jamaica Shakespeare Schools’ Championship, which was won by Campion College, for their rendition of Macbeth, one of whose highlights was the three witches as dance hall queens.
Perhaps, they need to cast their eyes on some of the runnings at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, which this week took on more drama and intrigue.
Is that a D’Aguilar I see before me? Commission Chair, Sir David Simmons and ‘Mr. Lloyd’ (as he was referred to by one witness) are not besties, busom buddies, or any kind of guy friends. Down with bromance. Up with bromide.
After the “gallant” Sir David hinted last week that material regarding “inappropriate” comments by Mr. D’Aguilar, about witness statements, would be reviewed and sent to the DPP to determine if Mr. D had committed any criminal act based on radio interviews, Lloydie upped the ante, like a battling toaster DJ. He wrote a scathing letter to The Gleaner, with some uncomplimentary comments about Sir David, alleging a seeming lack of impartiality, which the paper published. That publication seemed odd because the comments seemed slanderous or libelous, and Sir David noted that. ‘DJ Lloyd’ took to Twitter and said “bring it on”, after Sir David indicated he may sue. [The letter has since been removed from The Gleaner’s website, and I won’t include a screenshot of it, here.]
One thing that bewilders me about the attempts by ‘DJ LD’ to discredit the Commission is why so much time, energy and legal fees are being paid to be part of what he calls ‘kangaroo’ proceedings.
Enter ‘Lady Macbeth’. Lawyers have tasks to perform. Cross examination of witnesses seeks to test the credibility of witnesses. The problem is that in doing that, lawyers may often seem callous. So it was with Mrs. Valerie Neita-Robertson (VNR), representing the JCF, and questioning Marjorie Williams on her account of the alleged killing by police of her two sons. The witness had broken down in tears several times as she recalled the events.
She’d complained at one stage that “Mi belly hurting me,” and proceedings had stopped several times to let her compose herself. It was tear-jerking to watch and hear; even one attorney seemed in tears.
But, along came ‘Lady Macbeth’, piercing eyes focused on her target, and hoping to exonerate her clients.
Though she poked holes in the testimony, it was notable that VNR never sought to contest that the police killed the boys, or where the incident happened–the graphic picture of a blood-stained doorway with one of the boy’s slippers wasn’t challenged as being the scene of the deaths.
She sought to establish ‘reasons’ for their being killed, such as being ‘shottas’ (slang for gunmen). But, again, she never showed evidence or claimed that guns had been fired from the boys’ home. That lack of counterclaim seemed telling. So too was Mrs. VNR’s attempt to sully the witness by alluding to the fact that she had chosen to affirm, not swear on the Bible, which is a choice. She got short shrift from Sir David on that, who almost went into a Hamlet-like soliloquy on what that did not matter. She also suggested that Ms. Williams had colluded with two soldiers to build a story of police killings.
Many people watching cannot see the role of the lawyer as distinct from displays of personal likes and dislikes for witnesses. Mrs. VNR has become the butt of much vilification, I suspect.
Comic relief. Shakespeare often adds some comic characters or scenes to add both light relief or make some serious points, using humour. Attorney Michael Williams (Tivoli Committee) unwittingly fills that role, occasionally. His junior status often gets exploited but he often stumbles but not fall. This week he had all rolling when he admitted that he had a long list of questions for a witness due to be called. His regular nemesis, Linton Gordon (JDF), looked over at Mr. Williams’ notepad and added “…and he’s still writing…” The room rolled with laughter.