EVERYTHING BUT . . . : This shall pass
THE OLD SAYING goes: when it rains, it pours. No sooner had the sensationalist Observer raised a stink about Jamaican woman Shanique Myrie being “finger-raped” by an official or officials of our Immigration, or Customs, or the Police Force – the Observer didn’t seem sure which – then there were whisperings about pending charges against a police officer of serious indecency towards another Jamaican woman.
This matter in which the virtual complainant is a convicted drug mule is now before the courts.
On top of that, English visitor Hilary Heath thought it appropriate to raise in the last fortnight an ugly issue of 2004, presumably in the interest of the world at large, but almost certainly for the venting of her still pent up feelings.
The former British actress argued in the British Press that she might not have been raped had the Barbados police seriously taken advice about a serial rapist about the place, and, worse, stated that the police, having being informed of the threat, failed to warn the public: tourists and locals.
Serious accusations all, though they have as little to do with one another as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Sabbath.
After Senator Maxine McClean’s firm denial of any such indecent search of Ms Myrie, the Observer of Jamaica was livid, more so than Ms Myrie, if we are to go by its accusative, unproven and unbalanced reportage. The editors had Barbados charged, tried, convicted and quartered.
To this day neither the Observer nor Ms Myrie has presented convincing evidence to the Barbadian public of the alleged assault on Ms Myrie’s person. Not an iota!
Yet we have some Barbadians jumping in Ms Myrie’s corner – with glee, or hopping onto the bandwagon of self-persecution, as though for their own purification, that they may be seen to speak with large dosages of rare uprightness and holiness.
Jamaicans, wrongly or rightly, immerse themselves in patriotism and fervent nationalism; we Bajans are into national masochism. Through Facebook, Twitter and the like we have had self-imposed martyrs perishing for Ms Myrie and her cause.
As for our leaders in Government, outside of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and her pre-appropriate declaration of “prefabrication” and subsequent mollycoddling with Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Barbados Sharon Saunders, and our Man Responsible For Immigration with his abnormally neutral “No comment”, the silence has been disturbingly unnerving.
Even Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding had his say. According to him, the Myrie complaint wasn’t the first of its kind. Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Ken Baugh took it to the last CARICOM meeting.
To chairman Tillman Thomas’ credit, he ventured to comment. It was sterile, but something. He hoped that out of all the brouhaha member states would extend their commitment to free intra-regional movement of CARICOM?nationals.
The verbal inertia by Barbados’ leaders is excused by the notion that there are ongoing investigations: a probe without the accuser being pitted against the accused, or without an Observer reporter about for “transparency”. I guess, it shall all soon pass.
As for the matter of Ms Heath, no decent Barbadian will revel in her dehumanization, anguish and trauma. Surely not our police. But it begs the question how our officers could have so misread the circumstances that would eventually encircle and crumple Ms Heath and a healthy number of other women.
To their credit the police would capture and have convicted before the courts this wanton rapist, who is still in prison.
Grant you, this was 2004. But the matter was raised once more for all the world to know in 2011. And again from our leaders in Government nary a word. The police were mum, declaring only that the diplomatic office in London would respond. It did with some namby-pamby apology.
But this sordid melodrama has already begun to slip back into the past.
Notwithstanding, silence wasn’t meant to be golden forever. We cannot continue to be governed wordless. Otherwise this state too shall pass away.