Fri | Apr 3, 2020

Mark Wignall | Unethical journalism or just rude Warmington?

Published:Sunday | October 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM

By now, many Jamaicans will have heard the audio clip of JLP State Minister Everald Warmington trying to up the ante on his being an antisocial caveman and not being a great admirer of women. As happened mid-last week, a young-sounding female reporter from BATV called the junior minister in the works ministry to enquire about industrial action tremors at China Harbour. Without telling the minister he was being recorded, she asked her question. In about 40 seconds, Mr Warmington barks at her in his familiar growl, totally ditches the 'elected rep as servants of the people' understanding, and psychologically reduces her to trash by shouting, "Get off my phone! Get off my phone!"

It has long been known that Warmington needs the help of a gentle soul to hold his hand and introduce him to a school course in humanity with the subtext labelled 'decency'. Repeatedly in his politics and interaction with the media, especially female reporters, Warmington has shown not just open disdain for basic rules of decency, he has worn it in the JLP as a badge of honour and as an electoral cudgel over his prime minister.

But let me back up a little. If the reporter made the decision to get him on audiotape for her own assistance in transcribing the story, and it ended up as it did, with Warmington raising his frock tail, the clip should only be shared with her reflection in the mirror.That she either shared it with someone or she directly arranged for it to be released into the viral world of social media is obvious. One of the two options, or both, exist as the main narrative. Surely, there would have been a line in the story she would report about calling the minister and he being his typically rude self in failing to respond to the question asked.

So she has to take responsibility for that bit of unethical journalism. One suspects that if she had said, 'Minister, I am from BATV and before I ask you a question on happenings at China Harbour, let me inform you that my audio recorder is on." The immediate response would have been Warmington clicking her off.

In her either acting naive and inexperienced, and as a result, providing us with a little bit more insight into the ugly personality that is Warmington, we are forced to match two points against each other and ask, which action has done the greater good?

She may face some ethical and professional sanctions at her workplace, but in a highly imperfect world, she may have done her bit of good at the national level.Like it or not, amid the big negatives of the scandal at the energy ministry, the prime minister and the JLP administration have been taking the country in the right direction. Some will disagree with specific policy or management of those policies, but most of the economic numbers are trending in the right direction.


Kicking the bucket


However, as the PM and the JLP administration milk the cow and try to fill the bucket, Warmington walks by, and, instead of kicking it over, he soils it with a certain fluid.

It may not exactly be classified as a deluge, but many more men than, say, 40 years ago are listening to women's voices and trying to live inside their greatest concerns, especially sexual assault and the fear of reporting it and speaking of it. That is good. There is, of course, the other side, where vindictive women go off at the deep end and try to destroy men's lives. There is, first of all, the spurned lover. It is either that the emotion expected in future did not materialise, or material goods promised remained undelivered for too long. Even with a long shot being, a woman starting out immediately with a rape trap in mind, that is, she is devious enough to use it as shakedown for significant funds, the poor man would have no such problem for obvious reasons, and, in general, the assumption ought to be that such women are more rare than perennial.

Love, when it comes at a woman hard, long, and with maddening bursts of passion at all stops of her emotional journey, does not end well when the man finds little inside the relationship that can sustain him as everything else once did. And then he walks away, either gradually or slips on his shoes one night and steals away, never to return.

Some women cannot handle that. Flipped the other way, most men cannot handle it either. Those who are unconvinced that time heals all wounds may decide that pain must be met by greater pain imposed on the lost love.

She may then arrange to seduce him (a ridiculously easy job) and concoct a charge of rape. How does the man escape the trap? Surely, he does not possess the strength to imagine that a trap is about to be sprung on him. And even if his suspicions were heightened towards that possibility, as long as it involves sex, he is willing to chance almost anything.

In the 1990s, she was this 'Miss Hotness', and he was an ardent believer in the purity and the virtues of a woman. In addition, I suspect she was a genuine nymphomaniac and not just promiscuous. Among the heavy traffic of men who walked in and out the doors of motels from Negril to Morant Point with her came this quiet lad. I saw the crash coming, and even though she had tried for a moment's intimacy with me and I had sidestepped it, I decided not to give him a heads-up on the emotional injury she was about to unleash on him.She first informed him as she became pregnant that he was the father because she had no other source of sexual intimacy. In other words, as much as he knew that she was peddling him a big lie, he had a need to see goodness and honesty in her.A short while later, he found courage I did not expect in him and he questioned her about the pregnancy. She made a lot of noise, made up a convenient stream of tears, and stormed out. The next day, the police came for him. The charge was rape.

He made contact with me months after he was taken in. Behind bars for about six months, he was desperate, and without any legal help or family support.

The family had warned him about her and now they turned on him. I spoke to the arresting officer and related to him what I knew about the woman and her 'community' pursuits. He was let out in a week.The officer then went to the lady, told her what he had found out about her, then convinced her to drop the charge. The crazy thing is, the child, of course, grew up and is the dead stamp of the honest guy. In a society with too many pockets of unwholesomeness, it is not unheard of that poor mothers try to palm off their underage girls on economically viable men. The assumption some of these mothers make is that the 'big man' is naturally a paedophile and a poor female child is easy prey.

Three times in my life, mothers from economically depressed communities have tried to get me to hook up with their underage daughters. I understand the reasoning, but I expect the worst and back them off. And then I move on.

- Mark Wignall is a political and public-affairs commentator. Email feedback to and