Bruce Golding’s supermodel
Men often determine a course of action then build the ramparts of self-justification as they move along. Intelligent men excel at it. I witnessed this back when a friend was giving all his attention and some of his money to this perfect-10 stunning supermodel who had moved in next door, all the while telling his wife that his intentions were obviously pure and he was just being a good neighbour. After all, we have a moral obligation to at least try to be decent neighbours!
He even had irrefutable proof of innocence. Ulterior motives would be too cliche and too obvious, and therefore, that's obviously not what he was doing.
Well, Dudus was Bruce's supermodel in West Kingston, and Mr Golding's testimony at the enquiry sounded eerily familiar. In fact, it's instructive to listen to how Golding conceives of the dilemma he thinks he faced: if he rushed to Dudus' defence, foolish and mean-spirited people would conclude that it was being done because Dudus was ... well ... the President. But those fools would be wrong! And so, as one righteous man against the world, he would steer Jamaica to the defence of this endangered citizen.
Let's step back a bit. If Golding is still a politician, he is one of the most intelligent of them, with a command of facts and figures, and knowledge about government that is impressive. Even intimidating. His ability to take pacers and spinners from the best attorneys, even when on a very bad wicket, is testament to a really supple mind. Plus, whenever there was an opening for him to lecture about the discrete rights and responsibilities of the various branches and wings of government, it was a beauty to behold.
And yet his political deconstruction stands for the proposition that intelligence, while important, isn't nearly enough. One's heart must be in the right place. And while I'm not qualified or prepared to say exactly where Golding's heart is, I am prepared to say it's not a good look.
Say what you wish about Andrew Holness and his current pickle, he "unreservedly apologised" for the mess on the Senate floor, a far lesser offence than the carnage of May 2010. Golding, even now, can only manage "regret" where, as in the Manatt acreage of this vast cesspit, he absolutely cannot shift responsibility on to anyone else. Where it is at all possible to shift responsibility, he yolks the horsepower of his creative mind to do just that.
As a side note: It turns out that back in May 2010, in the lead-up to this bloody and costly confrontation, the rulers of the day appear to have taken a collective decision to ignore all news broadcasts. That's one thing we've learned, but not much else from the carefully rehearsed politicians.
For instance, unlike most MPs who know if 3.5 constituents gather with placards, Mr Golding says he was unaware that an estimated 500-700 people dressed in white intending to march on Parliament for Dudus, some declaring they would die for him.
It is a recurring theme, this lack of knowledge, even if Dwight Nelson now avoids the words "I can't recall". Nelson came intent on pointing the finger at Golding, who he says took over the whole business. Meanwhile, Golding carefully trained an accusatory finger at the security forces, quoting chapter and verse of the law divesting him of any operational authority.
Former AG Dotty Lightweight, the then Government's chief legal adviser, also didn't read the newspapers or watch the television news. Ms Lightweight speaks the truth though, I believe, when she says that she knows nothing.
So far, the only genuinely illuminating testimony has come from former Police Commissioner Ellington. His you-can't-make-this-stuff-up moment was when he revealed that he learned about the administration's eventual signing of the warrant on news media. Thank God he watches news!
That's right. The police commissioner heard about the governmental U-turn while probably chillin' at home, feet up on the couch, throwing back a few Red Stripes. It is, of course, exactly what Dudus was doing at that very moment in time, and a sure recipe for bangarang.
Dudus the victim
So having received the extradition request, the Government proceeded to concoct a legally risible excuse for not signing it. Dudus, our rulers determined, was the actual victim. His 'privacy' rights had been jeopardised because, y'know, one ought to be able to conduct international gunrunning and drug deals with hush-hush communiques and an expectation of privacy. That's the backdrop for this jawdrop.
Mr Golding dutifully trotted out his version of that story, according to which the very risibility of the theory is the actual proof that he was heroically acting in the defence of Jamaica's Constitution. Like my friend, the very thought that he was looking de hottie was ridiculous and malicious smear on his character!
Still, when after nine months the warrant was eventually signed, you might think that a sense of responsibility to the public and to the security forces might reappear. That's the dynamite in Ellington's revelation. We now see that Government had become such a complete shambles that Dudus, even at that late stage, got key info at the same time as the commissioner.
Ellington's evidence was riveting in other respects. Video of men carefully preparing barricades with gun ports for sniper positions is quite unforgettable, as was the evidence of widespread coordinated attacks on the security forces, including the murders of Sgt Henriques and Constable Davis. Then there's the policeman forced to dig his own grave, found in a seated position with a shot to the head. The terrorists abroad have nothing on our terrorists here.
The net effect is that the political directorate, having painstakingly created the conditions for this explosion, lit the fuse before sending the security forces in. And what do they do when the inevitable mayhem ensues? Sing Sankeys about the inviolability of human rights, the Jamaican Constitution, and the need for justice.
Expertise with self-justification is a lifelong skill. Even now my friend maintains his innocence, and says it was the constant nagging why he left his wife and moved in with the model.
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.