Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Alfred Dawes | Government badness

Published:Sunday | August 1, 2021 | 1:34 AM

I do not for one minute support the crass behaviour of the man recently detained by the police because he was “a person of interest in a case of larceny”. However, I do hope though that he is successful in his lawsuit against the police and that...

I do not for one minute support the crass behaviour of the man recently detained by the police because he was “a person of interest in a case of larceny”. However, I do hope though that he is successful in his lawsuit against the police and that part of the judgment handed down is a live recording of an apology from the arresting officers, clad only in their underwear. The creeping fascism, where criticism of the prime minister and the Government is met with the public humiliation of the transgressors, must be nipped in the bud immediately! This must be the final act of government badness that we allow.

At first it was the parading of the “curfew breaker” in front of the cameras while a triumphant policeman announced to the world that they found him hiding under his bed. We found it funny. Cursing at the PM and pretending to be a bad boy till they came for him must have melted his Steel Pulse. They found him in record time, yet we have heard nothing of the Pajero driver who drove over and crushed the head of the honey vendor while stealing his wares a year ago. Government badness 101 – we choose who to pursue.

Next it was the pastor who “threatened to kill” the prime minister. Arrested in the blink of an eye. People raised their eyebrows. Now this latest victim of government badness was paraded in front of the cameras while being instructed to apologise to the PM for calling him names. Why video the man in his house putting on clothes while being detained? Why coerce him to apologise and spread the video? The intent was to disgrace him, strip him of his dignity and send a strong message to all wannabes. Whether there is any credibility to the claim, word is going around that if you go viral cussing Anju, the police will find you and disgrace you with arrests and videos.

In a strident speech in Parliament on March 18, the PM stated, “If anyone believes that by dint of the loudness of their voice or their popularity that they are going to shut up this prime minister from telling the truth about what we need to do, think again.” This was construed by some as a clapback against Buju Banton and other celebrities who were railing against lockdown measures and peddling conspiracy theories. Whether the two were connected or not, the aggressive stance of the PM was that of an alpha male staring down a precocious pup. Funny enough, there were not many Buju videos since then. Although the PM was correct and absolutely justified, his tone was interpreted as, you got it, government badness.

I don’t believe that our leader is thin-skinned and petty enough to issue orders to round up anyone who curses him out in public. Yet his sycophantic minions feel that it is incumbent upon them to go for anyone who diss the programme. Tom drunk but Tom nuh fool. If a man was taken in for questioning for housebreaking why not have him apologise for housebreaking? What does petty thievery have to do with embarrassing him in his house and scripting an apology to the PM who he wronged? Tek people fi eediat with that media release nuh true?

TERRIBLE MISCALCULATION

Somebody gave the order to go for him after the video went viral. A faceless official in the police force commissioned the stooges with their guns, badges and camera phones to try and create the next viral video of a humiliated imposter cowering to government badness. They made a terrible miscalculation. We know the hyped man was wrong. But who on earth made you defender of the faith of the supreme leader for you to do that? You think it still funny? You think we do not see the prejudice with which certain classes are treated for the same infringements? You think government badness is still a catchphrase those outside of the privileged political class a guh rail up for in a dancehall?

Six years ago, in a speech I spoke of a “fascist orchestra with rotating conductors” as it related to the political hacks damning healthcare. This culture is ingrained in every single arm of the state apparatus. Whenever a government changes, supporters within the entities, whether ministries or the police force, are preferred for certain positions of authority. Now Mr Holness, by virtue of being the new conductor, has found himself surrounded by rabid dogs determined to destroy anyone and anything that threatens their ability to project their power and plunder. He inherited this orchestra, a creation of our corrupt political system. The PM is quickly learning that it is the faceless, hurry-come-up officials who, in defending government badness, are creating the spectre of a tyrannical government, whether his actions are antithetical.

The current economic and social climate of the country amid a global pandemic demands firm and steady hands to guide us out of this crisis. With near absolute powers accorded to him under the Disaster Risk Management Act, Prime Minister Holness has found himself to be either akin to a benevolent dictator or one who is consolidating power for selfish reasons. Unless he controls his minions and rein in those who think that they are now gods because of their new-found power, the inevitable pushback against government badness may well be the only thing that unites the classes in this fractured society.

- Dr Alfred Dawes is a general, laparoscopic, and weight-loss surgeon; fellow of the American College of Surgeons; Follow him on Twitter @dr_aldawes. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and adawes@ilapmedical.com.