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OFF CENTRE: I am not writing about that . . .


Sherwyn Walters

OFF CENTRE: I am not writing about that . . .

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So many things I could write about today.
I could write about the Caribbean Court of Justice’s judgment in the Shanique Myrie case and the ironies that it threw up.
Ah mean, we have a treaty that did not have to go through the process of local public input, did not have to go through our House of Assembly, our Senate . . . .
Did not have to face the possibility to being sent back for fixing so that it meets our national needs, our national intentions . . . .
Did not have to exist with the possibility of being repealed by our own Government.
And that can now trump legislation that has to deal with all that process and context.
An agreement, arrived at without the strictures and processes of anything approaching real democracy, tops my own carved out legislation! Wuh loss (or should that be wuh laws?)!
So, a treaty, however undemocratically arrived at, take on my law(s), arrived at in my esteemed (well, I might not always think too highly of it but others are more impressed) democratic setup and tell my legislation to haul its tail.
It shouldn’t be so easy, but yuh mek yuh bed, yuh lie down in it – that is the lesson, I suppose. And The Bahamas taking a hard look at the bed. It may, to them, look like the bed that sovereignty will die on.
But I am not writing about that today.
I en writing ’bout Minister of Education Ronald Jones either, which I would be doing if I take on Clarie Small-Warner’s question to me in a letter in Friday’s WEEKEND NATION: Why Did Walters Omit Paragraph? – a reference to my September 17 piece Minister Jones’ Press-ure Rising.
This is the entire quote: “If you are a teacher, don’t bring any media house on the school compounds of Barbados. If you are a principal, don’t bring them and if you are a trade union leader, stay out in the road unless you come to do good because the nature of life is about doing good; not about creating disharmony.”
I quoted down to “them”. Small-Warner apparently felt that there was some validity in the section “and if you are a trade union leader . . . disharmony” and that I prejudicially left it out.
Now, mind you, I was writing about Jones’ negative response in relation to the Press and I quoted the section relating to the Press, and Small-Warner is asking me why I omitted the section dealing with trade union leaders, about whom Minister Jones said something else entirely – unless you want to play fast and loose with his actual words.
He specifically told trade union leaders to stay out in the road unless they have come to do good – and presumably create harmony. He might have meant that in relation to the media, but he did not say it.
Even so, had I dealt with the omitted section, which was a clear attack on trade unionism, I would have repudiated its self-serving, unilateral and possibly fascist interpretation of “good” and “disharmony” – the idea that dealing with something that is wrong or at least unsatisfactory is not doing good and is disharmonious. I thought I could leave that to people like Small-Warner.
Anyhow, I am not writing about that today.
What I am writing about is how last week Sunday Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite talked about people who burn “stuff” with absolute disregard for neighbours. He essentially pleaded with them to be considerate to others who might be suffering from various ailments.
And I said, “Good heavens! Is he the chief law officer of the land or a motivational speaker?”
People suffering at the hands of disrespectful, inconsiderate, dismissive neighbours and the best the chief law officer could do is beg them to behave better?
That is apparently also the way the powers that be intend to deal with loud playing of music in residential areas and other noise-making contempt.
There ought to be strongly inhibitive laws against such, man!
That’s my thing today. But if I had started out like that, fewer people would have read the article. Maybe it is because things like uninhibited behaviours that torture living, breathing fellow citizens and wreck the social fabric don’t seem to matter too much to many people.
I know we like to say that the law is an ass but it often seems that the powers that be think that the put-upon populace are asses, mules, beasts of burden to be allowed to be constantly nose-searched, lung-searched, ear-searched and in other ways subjected to demeaning treatment by others.
It seems, too, that anybody who is deeply concerned about don’t-give-a-damn noise, burning of refuse, and similar grievous assaults on community living might have to look for a CARICOM treaty to get some relief.
That’s what I am writing about!
• Sherwyn Walters is a writer who became a teacher, a song analyst, a broadcaster and an editor.

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