Sat | Jul 11, 2020

Daniel Thwaites | Rules of ‘bun’

Published:Sunday | February 23, 2020 | 12:00 AM

I pick up The Gleaner this morning and read: ‘Soldier shoots cop in reported love triangle in Portmore’. As I write, the story is getting very wide circulation on social media, a timely reminder to those of us apt to concentrate on by-elections and buy-elections, on “straight” and “bend-up bend-up” candidates, that it’s “human interest” stories that people love and care about most.

The article notes:

“… It is reported that the soldier shot the policeman after arriving home to find his female companion in a compromising position with the cop. The woman is also a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.”

The JCF is getting more and more exciting, eh?

Anyhow, I went to The Gleaner online and just ran a quick search on “love triangle” and the results show that this wasn’t a lone or isolated incident, although because it involves two cops and a soldier it draws a lot of attention.

Up popped the Manchester incident from January this year where 24-year-old Shantell Whyte was shot multiple times, allegedly by Andre Bromfield. The search also recovered a story from a little further back, a murder-suicide, where 21-year-old Shaba Smith was killed by her boyfriend, 23-year-old Terence Reid, who was employed to security company Hawkeye.

There was no shortage of content. Another headline from a few years back: ‘Love triangle blamed for St James quadruple murder’ where “26-year-old tiler, Junior Scott, popularly known as Prince; Scott’s girlfriend, 28-year-old Loise Lorraine Watson; Watson’s eight-year-old daughter, Shaya Riana Prince, a student of the Barracks Road Primary School, and a man identified only as Kimali” were all slaughtered. Notice an 8-year-old was killed.

In October last year was one of the worst stories of all, from right up in the St Andrew bush where I grew up: Jamelia Leslie, 28 years old, was imprisoned for the murders of two children and their mother in Mavis Bank, rural St Andrew. The woman had been her rival for the affections of a gentleman.

Just two months ago, 40-year-old Anika Taylor was murdered in Rollington Town, reportedly by her boyfriend, 29-year-old Jonathan ‘Paul’ Riley, who then hanged himself from a tree with a cable cord. Riley, a family friend explained, “was determined him cya lose” after Taylor had made several attempts to part ways with him. Presumably this was his way of “winning”.

I could go on and on with the stories. If you search “murder-suicide” you get another depressing avalanche of mayhem.

But back to Soldjie and the police lovers. In old English law it used to be that a man could claim “provocation” if he happened upon another man in congress with his wife. It was understood in those days that actually witnessing the ‘bun’ was such a disturbing occurrence for the red-blooded male of the species that it was understandable, although not excusable, that he would try to wound or kill the transgressor. Blind fury was thought to be the natural result of a jealous rage that would overtake even the most reasonable man.

But times have changed. We’ve matured through women’s liberation and the sexual revolution. Furthermore, marriage is no longer a holy sacramental vocation for the propagation and protection of children policed by the Church, or even, according to the innovation of the early secular order, a contractual lifelong union for the production and protection of children policed by the state. Nowadays it’s a convenience for temporary companionship geared towards avoidance of STDs and the satisfaction of adults.

With these changes it’s not right to any longer believe that one partner has the right to wound or murder someone else because they’re having a consensual condom-protected fling with a temporary partner.

So when Soljie came home to find – not even his wife – his domestic partner in duggu-duggu with a fellow member of the Force, he should’ve been far calmer.

Plus it’s well known that members of the Force get very close to dem one-annoda because they work in close quarters and sometimes face danger together. It’s a bonding experience. And one thing leads to another. What can you really expect? Tings nuh mus gwaan? C’mon maaan! It come een like soljy nuh know de new rules!

This is what happens when a society is in a transitional phase, moving from one set of social rules to another set. And since that is obviously what’s happening to us, we need to innovate some guiding principles of behaviour for the new environment.


For example, if it were possible, sexual jealousy ought to be outlawed. We cannot be in a setting where it’s standard practice for most men and women to practise polygyny and polyandry, and still want to retain that old-fashioned notion and emotion.

Of course I’m not serious about that. Emotions are notoriously difficult to contain and modify, especially where people have little practice in self-mastery and are actually taught that any such effort is oppressive.

But surely there must be some way to contain the ocean of destruction that our completely casual family arrangements seem to be causing! Some genius, I’m sure, will come up with a solution, but that’s frankly beyond my capacity.

My only less than helpful idea is that people have to learn to take these things in perspective and the Government should probably set up a helpline to counsel citizens about how to survive ‘bun’.

Because truthfully, there is a paradox in the heart of secularism that is difficult to understand. On the one hand, it is almost mandatory that one be completely permissive about sex, and yet the transgression of any of the rules causes the most inflexible censoriousness and unquenchable anger.

I would also add that there’s a vanishing civilisational art of getting, sustaining, and surviving ‘bun’. It needs to be revived with urgency. Men were to look to St Joseph for inspiration. He, after all, got the most whopping ‘bun’ of all time. Women were to seek solace in St Monica.

The bottom line is that we have to establish some new rules for these new times. Here we could benefit from the inclusion of experts: the psychologists and counsellors who understand how to how to survive these things:

I’m imaginative enough to suss out some of the new rules myself:

No killing;

No beatings or violence directed towards the bunner by the bunnee;

No cow-bawling in public (it only serves to depress the rest of us);

No rumour-spreading about the bunner (have some dignity, for Chrissake).

Members of the security forces or of the enormous private armies known as security agencies must surrender their weapons immediately upon the suspicion of ‘bun’, and must be quarantined for three months up at Newcastle if the ‘bun’ is proven on a balance of probability.

I think with some simple directions like these we might have a more peaceful and less violent society. Really, it should be the security ministry innovating in this department. Because one thing is for certain: if we continue along the path we’re on, the bloodcurdling headlines won’t be in short supply and the murder numbers will have a steady supply based on the prevalence of death by ‘bun’.

- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to