Sat | Dec 14, 2019

Jaristotle's Jottings | Blood money and other uncomfortable truths

Published:Thursday | November 21, 2019 | 12:19 AM

Every decision we make and everything we do or say as individuals, organisations or government is based on or has implications for different aspects of our lives and those of others. These aspects pertain to social, economic, safety, security, legal, political and ethical factors, and their respective levels of influence vary depending on circumstances: who, what, where, when, why and how.

Individuals and governments do and say things based on decisions they have taken, invariably to satisfy some need or interest, these having been determined by one or more of the factors outlined above. In like manner, their decisions, actions and pronouncements all have implications, in varying degrees, within the context of these factors.

When things go well, no one has a problem coming straight and explaining the basis for their decisions and deeds; however, let there be a problem and the opposite holds true, witnessed by denials, spin-doctored explanations and a paucity of truth. In other instances when controversial truths stare us in the face, individuals who may be affected are quick to strike down such truths and vilify the truth speakers.

The truth can hurt

Take, for instance, the testimony proffered by a witness in the ongoing murder-related trial of reputed gang leader, Tesha Miller. The witness, a former gang member who would have had first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of gangs, posited that extortion-derived money is often used to pay the legal fees for incarcerated gang members. This statement was staunchly rebutted by Miller’s defence team and struck out by the judge.

Here is the farcicality of the situation. Any law-abiding and hard-working individual who wishes to open a bank account is subjected to stringent due diligence checks, particularly in relation to the source of their funds. On the other hand, any no-good gangster hauled before the courts can retain the best and most expensive legal team with no questions asked! Blood money to boot or what?

Better to bury the truth

It does not take a rocket scientist to realise the absurdity and implications of this disparity. Given that a revelation such as this is likely to hold more than a mere element of truth, one would think that concerned parties would have already started to pursue the issue, but the silence has been deafening. Why?

Those with vested interests have no desire to unearth the truth or change the status quo. Lawyers have an economic interest; persons in the know have no wish to compromise their safety and security, and politicians associated with affected gangsters have no desire to compromise their political base. As a consequence, gangsters remain virtually untouchable; lawyers’ coffers remain filled; and politicians maintain their under-the-table alliances. Decisions and implications, all corrupted by the burial of truth.

Are we interested in the truth?

Playing with the truth is symptomatic of ‘runnings’ in this country. Our political representatives, our lawmakers, have a responsibility to enact legislation that offers adequate protection against wrongdoing, and to provide for deterrent-like sanctions where offences occur.

Despite our runaway murder rate, our politicians are reluctant to reintroduce hanging, citing humanitarian reasons and other poppycock excuses. However, we know that some of these said politicians with connections to gangsters have no qualms in abetting murders of persons who stymy their shenanigans. No humanitarian considerations here.

The politico-gangster links slap us in the face: we know who is involved, and despite their continued runs for office, we appear reluctant to pursue and expose such truths.

Are we afraid of exposing the truth because it may bite us, are we intimidated by the official barriers that have been erected to mask such truths, or have we resigned ourselves to apathy and denial?

You tell me.

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