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THE LOWDOWN: Sundry signs and wonders

THE LOWDOWN: Sundry signs and wonders

By Richard Hoad | Fri, November 02, 2012 - 12:00 AM

We candid columnists are constantly cautioned against committing contempt of court by commenting on current or controversial cases. In my opinion, the justice system does itself a disservice by using a heavy hammer to silence critics.

However, we note that his attorney David Comissiong has free rein to comment on every aspect of the case of Raul Garcia, the Cuban convict that no country appears to want.

We have seen a letter with testimonials from a jailer and a priest, an alleged interview, ball by ball legal arguments in a political party column as to why his personal client should be set free . . . even the headline Garcia Ease, which led many of us to fear: “Ohmigod, they’re going to report on his bowel movements.”

We wouldn’t be surprised to hear calls for a well known historic area to be renamed the Garcian Savannah.

I hope that this concerned Barbadian will be given similar leeway to express his views, as have Ambassador John Beale, columnist Sherwyn Walters and others.

First, I cannot accept that any narcotics trafficker has “paid his debt to society” by spending time in jail. I hear too many horror stories of schoolgirls forced into prostitution to support a drug habit. Of young sons who are now their families’ worst nightmares. Their punishment for being lured by cocaine dealers will never end.

Secondly, Mr Garcia has special attributes which make him very attractive to the illegal drug cartels: he speaks Spanish; he is familiar with South American countries where such drugs are grown.

Thirdly, it would little matter if Mr Garcia no longer wants to be part of that trade. I know of a fisherman who sold his boat to avoid the intense pressure to bring in drugs. Drug mules out of Jamaica similarly have little choice. You comply or risk having a family member hurt or killed.

For these reasons, while accepting that Garcia has served his allotted term, I am totally against him being released into Barbadian society.

Let’s leave that there and touch on a few signs and wonders: like that cluster of multicoloured lights appearing in the eastern sky – my guess is an upmarket nightclub where stars perform for really high high-flyers.

And a mighty nation slammed in Sodom and Gomorrah style months after its president endorsed a similar abomination.

And then there is blank paper. We buy blank paper roll ends to dry the goats’ udders. Haven’t been able to get any lately. All sold out by the time we get down from St Andrew. Ridley Greene tried for us but he couldn’t get.

But get this: the guard told me there is a crush of people waiting to buy blank paper every morning. This at a time when THE NATION is promoting newspaper vendors.

I know what you’re saying: that Harold Hoyte (recently described by an enthusiastic Trini female as “our host Harold Hoyte, one generous Bajan, believe me . . .” after he put on a big do at the Hyatt Trinidad) would say: “Cuddear, Kaymar, sell the boy a few!”

Or that THE NATION should be ashamed that a faithful columnist of 23 years’ service should have to slink over to The Advocate and experience the ignominy of being told: “Excuse me, sir, but if you are who I think you are, I think you’re in the wrong place!” (They were nice, however, and sold me three.)

But that is not the point. The point is, people want newspaper with no words on it. So why not sell them? I would even be willing to do blank columns for a reduced fee.

Final wonder: at Fisherman’s Corner recently an attractive English lady was chatting with oldster “Heads” Gittens. And I jokingly asked if he was harassing her.

“He is”, she enthused, “but I enjoy being harassed by handsome men!” Lady, you have no idea what hope that remark will bring to many of us “handsome” men of similar vintage.

By the way, a young salesman there explained to me how landing a fish is just like landing a woman: it’s all to do with the bait you use, your tackle, and, of course, the length of your rod. No wonder I never catch anything.

• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.

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