Mark Wignall | Bhuttu in a Benz gets powder-puffed
The young policeman with two degrees in specialist areas of police work sent me a text after Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Bishop Dr Gary Welsh, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, had unleashed a social fiasco.
Mr Dennis Dietrih, an uptown dweller who does not appear to be in his teens or early 20s, had been caught on camera performing a daring stunt with his Mercedes-Benz on the public roadway along the busy Dunrobin Avenue corridor.
After being summoned by the police, he apologised in the most idiotic way possible, by suggesting that the car should probably take some of the blame. “The car itself is an aggressive car, so sometimes it makes you do things yu nuh really think about, but it won’t happen again.” Poor man. The car made him do it.
The text message said: “Hope you’re following the widespread condemnation of the indiscipline of the JCF in dealing with the undisciplined motorist who was let off by virtue of his social standing.”
Another bright young policeman, who is mulling his resignation because of ‘the JCF’s stout resistance to organisational changes and utilising talent’, said to me on the phone, “This action by the ACP is coming over like a quest of the senior officer for cheap prominence and public applause.”
ACP Welsh is a man of the cloth so he believes that all can be redeemed, especially if they are close to Kingston 6, 8 and 19 areas of St Andrew. It is not only accepted that Jamaica is riven by a plague of indiscipline, but most of it is manifested in how we drive and flout the laws at will. It is fully demonstrated on our roads each day, especially among our route-taxi drivers as they endanger the lives of law-abiding citizens.
A taxi man will tell you that speed in completing routes equates to more money earned, so that’s why his daily sojourn on the roads involve creating dangerous shortcuts. Plus, there are others who are simply idiotic, break the laws repeatedly, and over time are unable to tell right from wrong.
But according to Mr Dietrih, who is the personal assistant of star cricketer, Andre Russell, he knows right from wrong, has no intention of doing that wrong again but, was driven by the devil that lives under the hood of his ‘criss’ Benz.
If he had said to the Bishop ACP that it was Satan who had made him do it, would the Bishop have laid his hands on Mr Dietrih and cast out that sinister Prince of Darkness by a ‘Get thee behind us Satan?’
It is, of course, within the discretion of ACP Walsh to exhibit mercy in his police duties, but one can’t help but wonder if his eyes were not glossed over by the realities of one uptown Jamaica having significantly more rights than the other Jamaica where zinc fences collide with myriad social crudities.
“Mi nah lie boss,” said one of my taxi driver acquaintances on Tuesday. “Me drive bad sometimes an me certain that if me did under juice an a gwaan wid madness pon di road, me coulda neva get whey wid dat. Is a slap in the face of every taxi driver who go pay him ticket.”
It has long been established as a reality in Jamaica that almost everyone wants to drive a Mercedes-Benz. In that acceptance we should also ask the question, ‘How many Benz drivers does it take to screw in a light bulb?’
Maybe ACP Welsh has the answer.