Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Our own privy counsel

Published:Sunday | November 1, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Malahoo is emerging as the clear star of this senatorial dustup. Like it or lump it, she's winning the battle.

First off, I should admit some biases. I am biased, if you want to call it that, towards the CCJ. I find the logic for establishing it indisputable. The Privy Council is, in practice, available only to large corporations, super-rich individuals, and death-row inmates whose terminal desperation a certain class of British barrister finds irresistibly attractive.

Also intolerable, though mildly amusing, is that a Jamaican wanting to access his final appellate court must first brave barricades to make humble entreaties at the British High Commission for a visa. It seems to me quite ridiculous, and tragic, that this is a partisan political fight at all.

I am also heavily biased towards Malahoo Forte, not because I know her personally, but because she is very good-looking and photogenic. Then, on top of that, she hasn't been making much sense lately, which, to me, makes her even more attractive. You can imagine my conundrum. It's like when they ask beauty contestants simple questions and they completely botch the answer. I'm among that select group of professionals who thinks: "That's the one I'm voting for! Definitely!"

I realised that Malahoo wasn't just an exciting young senator, but also a fashion icon, by the strangest means. It was a newspaper report from back in December 2013 about the police arresting one 'Marlene Malaboo Forte', who, along with 'Michelle', 'Pebbles', 'Goodas', and 'Bat Man', was a robbery suspect living in a New Kingston gully. Now, if your ting is so set and shine that down to the very gully-dwellers want to get a little piece of the reflected glow, big tings a gwaan fi yuh! AJ can galang! None of them chose the name 'AJ Nickyboo'.

disorderly conduct, defiance of authority

Incidentally, one of the issues with 'Malaboo' was disorderly conduct and defiance of authority, down to even saying she was in her bedroom even though news footage clearly revealed a gully. Sometimes the absurdity of what we hear from the streets and Parliament of Jamaica is only limited by our imagination. Who knew that two years later history would repeat?

How ingenious were the PNP luminaries to begin the debate on the mother of all controversies amid an unofficial election campaign? A blind man could see that it wasn't likely to go well!

And true to form, the whole nation has been treated to a careful study, even with videotaped evidence, of the potty habits of certain legislators. What did they expect? That the other side would, pardon my French, go "oui, oui"? No. The other side, pardon my French (again), went "wee-wee".

Just to catch everyone up. The Senate is debating bills that would disestablish the Privy Council and replace it with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). To entrench the CCJ requires at least one vote from an opposition senator.

So far the Senate debate has been a tumultuous melee with, as I've said, former judge Malahoo emerging as star. Last Thursday, she narrowly escaped being ejected from the Senate for calling the proceedings "a mockery of the Constitution". Then on Friday, Malahoo was sent for, but remained outside the chamber, stuck, it was said, on the chamber pot. At some point, she sent for her handbag, which to the other side evinced an effort to flee the premises without providing a letter that she had referenced. Malahoo was subsequently suspended.

valiant defender

Horace Chang, ever the valiant defender, immediately charged A.J. with insensitivity to women. Said Horace of A.J.:

"He moved to suspend the lady while she was on a bathroom break and didn't have the decency to allow her to defend herself even after she re-entered the chamber. It is also disturbing that he sought to have the lady carried back to the Senate while she was in the bathroom and also sought to prevent her from getting feminine products from her handbag."

Chang didn't just play the gender card, as Sandrea Falconer has suggested. Even better, he said, "Dem ah talk 'bout court and 'flexi-rape A.J.', the dictator, cyaaan't come roun' yasso talkin' bout suspend no oooman." That's the gender card, the rape card, and the injustice card, all rolled together.

Naturally, the government women senators then stated that Malahoo had been contemptuous of Senate rules and disrespectful to Senate President Floyd Morris, who is visually impaired. To translate: "Well played, Mr Chineyman Chang! We answer your gender card with this statement from FEMALE senators ... . So doan gwaan like we nuh have nuff ooman ova yasso, plus we have a blind man, and yuh nuh have none!" Tek dat!"

More comical than all of the above is the irrelevant rubbish letter that was at the heart of this bathroom break from the people's business. Having been invited by the former attorney general, Dorothy Lightweight, the Privy Council responded that it would deign to give Jamaica a one visit if we guaranteed them club-class airfares, five-star hotel rooms, satisfactory meals, manicures, pedicures, eyebrow, eyelash, and group massages by Malaboo. Trust me, it was entirely fitting that the controversy over this hyped-up toilet paper ended up in the privy, as in toilet.

All said, I have to admit that Floyd Morrison's release of the video was brilliant - and decisive. How de boxcover Malahoo get outed by video from a blind man? Still, she has achieved the objective of creating a pretence upon which to stall the debate while looking cutely naughty. It's not an easy call, but I say the advantage is with Malahoo, Jamaica's own privy counsel.

- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.