Brian-Paul Welsh | The 'Powell Special'
I recently suffered the inconvenience of a police 'spot check' while cruising along the highway heading to a pordy in Porty.
After putting out my spliff and informing the officer that I had misplaced my driver's licence, he politely requested my vehicle registration documents. Upon examination, it was revealed that my car was not licensed, insured, or fit for road use.
Aghast at this discovery, I became further confused when he seemingly offered navigational directions in response to my clear and unrepentant deviations from the rule of law. I didn't immediately appreciate the implications of his insistence for asking me 'right or left', but as if by instinct, I promptly placed a call to my attorney and ordered the 'Powell Special', the new get-out-of-jail-free card in Jamaica's legal matrix coming out of the so-called X6 murder case.
Powell, the former defendant, must really be special that he could have withheld critical evidence in a murder trial.
He was privileged to be represented by a Queen's Council and eventual attorney general. Not that this 'topanaris' post has ever been as illustrious as it sounds. There was one such figurehead in recent memory that preferred to take copious notes on parchment paper and beat the office computers with a walking stick, while another was prone to bathroom gossip and episodes of glossolalia.
This trial, unlike the innumerable other poppy shows that preceded it in Jamaica's century-long farce, has touched a nerve with the public in a way that perhaps no other episode of injustice has in recent memory.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
It fizzled in such spectacular fashion, it was as if engineered by a pyrotechnician, someone well versed in the razzle-dazzle and fireworks of court drama with much noise but little effect.
The smoke and mirrors we all saw as this production wrapped up filming is the kind of stuff that makes good attorneys very rich, and rich clients very innocent in the eyes of the law.
Astute minds are now able to ferret out information once left to flutter away like gossip on the breeze, and in conference, this active and pulsating jury of public opinion is able to consider evidence, especially that which was deliberately repressed.
The press, in the past few weeks, has gifted the nation with a glimpse into the dirty works of once-invisible hands that continue to sully this nation's moral fabric with their mischief.
Now that the peasants have seen through the Leviathan's cloak, their eyes are now wiser to its cunning ways.
How much longer will families have to mourn the unnecessary deaths of promising youth with justice delayed or denied altogether?
How many more mothers have to die without answers from those with the duty to care?
I actually think the taxi driver with the amnesia deserves a national honour for his spectacularly self-serving yet cathartic testimony. In his dramatic exit stage left, he lobbed a rhetorical bombshell that has yet to be addressed.
Who was the 'nigga' he alleges the police wanted him to pin the shooting on? And since we are now told the alleged murder weapon that has never been found is also responsible for a double murder elsewhere, how many other 'niggas' do the police have lined up to take the fall islandwide? In Jamaica, it seems the poor 'nigga' always gets the blame.
So with no gun, no witness, and, therefore, no case, the wide-ranging displeasure in the society as the curtains drew to a close was the uncomfortable aftermath of mass hysteria, having just witnessed one of this country's most elaborate and protracted illusions.
In The Wizard of Oz, when the wizard imposter was accidentally revealed, he tried to extricate himself, much like Mike Henry before Parliament after the JDIP fiasco, screaming: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"
The X6 trial has shown Jamaica the men and women behind the curtain, and now having seen the rot that prevails, little by little we shall continue to lift the veil.
Just as I had to carefully consider my next move when choosing the divergent paths offered to me by the polite policeman in Porty, so, too, will Jamaica need to decide if we will move towards what we know to be right, and if we don't, whether we can live with the country we have left.
- Brian-Paul Welsh is a writer and public affairs commentator. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and brianpaul.welsh