Guest Post | Tragic Comedy: The Manatt/Coke Commission of Enquiry
Let me just tell you right now. You may find that this blog post has a negative tone; you might even call it cynical. If you break out in hives at the hint of any of that, then look away. I neither view the glass as half empty nor half full, I just don’t like being thirsty. So here we go.
This Enquiry into issues involving the US law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and the extradition request from the United States for Christopher “Dudus” Coke is somethin’ ain’t it? It is captivating, entertaining and even interesting at times. I’ve seen and heard friends’ comments and they reflect how thoroughly engrossing the whole thing can be. For close to two weeks I’ve been watching it myself and I also, at times, have found it just as amusing as my friends have. However, lately I’ve realized that my perspective on what is transpiring in this Enquiry has soured.
I’ve found myself becoming downright pissed at what I’m witnessing. In fact, I’m listening to it as I write this and so I want to explore some common – and I think important – questions related to the issue.
“What exactly is it that Jamaicans should expect will come from this?”
I’m sure there are many ordinary citizens viewing and listening to the daily broadcasts, who have asked this very same question. They’re likely stumped as to what it is that could come from these soap opera-like proceedings. They certainly have a right to ask, not only out of curiosity, but because every now and then they actually remember that they are funding it.
Well I’ll tell you the answer: It is an exhibition of how hard it is for liars to prove that other liars are indeed lying. It is merely a show of opposition by The Opposition. It is a public demonstration of “tief neva love fi see tief wid long bag.” Sure enough, this enquiry is a public squabble between a pot and a kettle. However, that’s not all it is; it is also an attempt to publicly mar and shed light on the lack of integrity and credibility of the current governing party. Timely though isn’t it…since elections are coming up soon…yea.
Perhaps you thought all of this was to somehow lay a platform for Jamaica’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes. That any of this charade will somehow lend to the further development of the nation. Nobody is that naïve though, because by now many of you must have realized that it is simply a masquerade. It is a farce, and a competition disguised as a fact finding exercise. Facts which will affect nothing, as no real justice can be achieved through it.
You’ve seen the characters, including the lawyer/party representative who looks like something from an old kung fu movie. I personally refer to him as ‘Silver Fox.’ There’s a whole host of caricature-like cronies and any cartoon would have a full cast here. Silver Fox in particular, is someone I view as brash, arrogant and disrespectful. He’s more Simon Cowell than Matlock. But I’ve noticed that he has garnered the cheers and support of many onlookers. I often hear sentiments to the tune of “Pressure dem KD!” and “KD Knight ah di boss!” A part of me feels like this is indicative and a microcosm of why Jamaica’s partyism politics continues to thrive. I’ve always felt that party affiliation, more so than the idea of good governance, is so ingrained in our society that it is as much a part of our Jamaican culture as Reggae is. Whether it’s a permanent part remains to be seen.
Jamaicans seem to have a mentality where we tend to favor the aggressor, the offensive, and sometimes unwittingly glorify the “cruff.” We also have an alarmingly short memory span. We get sucked into the dramatics and the grandstanding, and we forget that these are the people who have time and again shown us they are corrupt. They are the people we elect yet they are out to secure their own agendas above anything having to do with the betterment of the country.
But yea, back to those questions…
“Who are the people that have been working for the past few weeks on the direction and development of Jamaica while this enquiry goes on?”
You figure somebody has to be keeping the gears of government turning while seemingly every member of the Government and Opposition is engaged in this pointless courtroom spat….right? My fear is that you’re wrong. I can already see government matters backing up. Reports, budgets, reviews, and meetings are being delayed, and so important timelines and deadlines will be thrown off. The fact is that while this enquiry goes on, Jamaica is in a state of suspended animation. The country is in a vacuum, a state of flux. In other words for the past few weeks we nah guh nuh weh. The excuses will inevitably pour in, but we’re all used to those. Plus don’t forget the short-term memory.
So now it comes down to this.
“How do I view the Manatt enquiry and any such government related foolishness going forward?”
It’s just so apparent that Jamaica is on the brink of perhaps its darkest time in history. Our economy is barely hanging on through external aid. Everybody is broke. Gas prices are through the roof. Kartel lectures now still ah bleach. Criminals are breaking into hospitals to rob the people who take care of the people who criminals put into the hospital. It’s my hope that all of us would be just a little less easily impressed and distracted from real issues. Should any of you be aspiring politicians, I hope you go in with a resolve for something new as opposed to adopting the old views and attitudes. Don’t be so easily indoctrinated as to go sit behind Portia in Parliament to smile, nod, and look pretty.
I was challenged by a Jamaican celebrity/comedienne on Twitter recently and she implied that if my outlook is so gloomy then I should just leave. I don’t agree with her; there’s still no place like home. I’d just like to see far less mindlessness, a sharper focus, and even a seriousness that reflects more of the direction we want to be heading. At least then, things might start to look a bit more hopeful and positive. Thanks for reading, get some cream for those hives.