Our competing political parties obviously believe public accountability is not nearly as important to the electorate as are obeah and chembois. And they could be right. On Tuesday evening MBC featured, conceivably as prime-time entertainment, a professed agent of God duking it out with fellow Seventh Day Adventist and local media honcho Clinton Reynolds around the arresting topic of spiritism and the ballot box.
Shortly before the hot-gospelers got underway Reynolds took the on-camera opportunity to shred and set aside an apology demand from a law firm on behalf of senate president, HTS show host, and Saint Lucia Labour Party chairman Claudius Francis. From his lawyer’s perspective he was also “a respected and renowned insurance broker and highly respected radio and television personality . . . well respected for his opinions on all matters of public interest . . . for telling it like it is as his views have always been thoroughly researched and sound.” Additionally: “These important trusted opinions he holds and held is due to the strength of his character and his good reputation . . .”
The following day, despite a determined effort by Newsspin’s Timothy Poleon to discuss a recent court ruling that established the government’s right to choose its legal representatives regardless of what opposition MP Guy Joseph and his political associates MPs might think to the contrary, politics and voodoo dominated.
Days earlier the RCI presenter had been required to issue his own apology to the senate president, this time in relation to a news item on Choice News Now, until Monday also hosted by Poleon. Soon afterward the ubiquitous veteran newsman had ended his relationship with the program for reasons he evidently prefers to keep in his pocket.
As I say, with so much going on—from reports of egregious sexual abuse to unresolved sudden deaths and shocking demands on three media houses, not to mention a couple of opposition-party operatives—public discussion nevertheless has centered this week on the impact of obeah on local politics. Even Darren Sammy took a back seat to that.
Albeit certain allegations from the opposition party’s platform may this time around have triggered the devilish discourse, such talk has for some time now been commonplace in the season of elections: hairless werewolves have reportedly been trapped by the nuts in Choiseul. Uniquely talented Haitians have been secretly imported to do for local politicians what they could not do for Papa and Baby Doc and Aristide; water shortages have been blamed on election hopefuls who had taken up to 20 spell-repelling baths a day, for several months before Polling Day.
I well recall a time shortly before elections when candles were as scarce as are jobs today, thanks to the several rituals that required miracle candles to be burned underground. We need not venture near the pre-election nocturnal activities that rely for their effectiveness on naked, deserted, wailing boloms and the unburied long dead. Or for that matter the bus that left the safe Morne Sion road and plunged off a cliff some two hundred yards away into the sea—days before the 2005 elections. All aboard perished. At any rate, all but the never properly identified two who after all these years remain unaccounted for. The usual explanation suggests they were debt-collectors from another sphere and responsible for the mysterious incident-accident!
On Thursday the lunchtime news, at any rate on RCI, touched on the somewhat dismissive reaction of Mr. Reynolds to the conceivably dead serious demands of the senate president’s lawyer, also the House Speaker; there was also a resurrected item about a carnival-time homicide in Trinidad and one government official’s controversial reaction.
An insect threw all of these items on the back burner. Of course this was no ordinary mosquito. By popular account the particular strain is threatening the Olympic Games, hosted this time around by a hurting Brazil. Elsewhere the Zika mosquito has been blamed for several deaths and for the oddly shaped crania of newborns by the score. On Thursday the government’s health department reported that the mosquito had struck down two Saint Lucians, although not fatally.
In consequence of the above there was not a word, not a word, not a word about the threats of court action against perceived opposition-aligned sections of the media; not a word, not a word, not a word about what may have pushed the once omnipresent Poleon over the edge of his Choice perch; not a word, not a word, not a word about Sammy or boloms or voodoo and resurrected roaming Haitians. Not a word on Guy Joseph and the discombobulating news that Saint Lucians could not constitutionally be denied their choice of legal representation, whether originating from a Haitian cemetery or from the land of countless rivers!
Of course I had by Wednesday given up on hearing from the government a comment on the last STAR’s lead story about the possibility someone may have leaked the secrets of the IMPACS report. Or that someone may be passing around, for no reason I can think of, fake copies. As I write it is just short of 3 o’clock on Thursday and I’ve not received the further pages anonymously promised me last week.
Indeed, I am beginning to suspect someone with a weird sense of humor has been playing me. Then again how many in this nation still possess a sense of humor, weird or otherwise? In all events why the deathly silence on the parts of both government and opposition? Yes, the media too?
Meanwhile, I sense something in the air most unusual. Buzzing around in my head is (dare I say it?) the crazy notion that none of this is actually happening; that our universe is actually a hologram and we may all be living in a computer game, as some universally respected astrophysicists have lately been suggesting. This is how one of them put it recently: “Everything around us seems real enough but a growing number of scientists have started to wonder whether life is just an incredibly sophisticated simulation.”
Can you wrap your wise head around that, dear reader? It turns out there is mathematical evidence that our lives could be nothing more than “an elaborate computer-game style existence.” Folks like the revered Neil Degrasse (hey, look him up—if only because black lives matter!) are actually looking into such bizarre propositions. And if this whole life thing should turn out to be a game, why might it not include boloms, lajablesse, gens gaje . . . see what I mean?
Am I losing it? Is someone, something, pulling my chain, making me believe Kenny, Allen, the Guys, the politicians in bras . . . actually exist? That I exist? Can five dollars really block a hole? What hole? Ah, my cell phone summons.
“Hello,” I say, noting the ‘ID Unknown’ message on my screen. A male voice on the other end says: “I trust you were expecting my call. You’ll see I always keep my promises.”
I say: “How could I have expected your call when I have no idea who you are?”
And the caller says: “Oh, trust me, you know who I am all right, even though we’ve never actually met.”
I say: “Da Jade?”
The caller chuckles: “Jadia? Please. Do I really sound like that woman? How do you like Deep Throat? If Woodward and Bernstein had theirs, why not you?”
Meanwhile, I’m thinking this guy actually has a sense of humor. Might he be a non-national? Hey, that Deep Throat thing was clever. But before I can serve him my own X-rated bon mot, he says: “I dropped something off for you at The Yard Bookstore. It’s in the Derek Walcott section. Behind the Omeros pile. Oh, I almost forgot: film at 11!” So the convo ended.
Like I said, a funny guy. One hour later I collected an unmarked brown envelope, similar to the one I collected at the STAR last week, exactly where he said I’d find it. This time the envelope contained not three but five pages. The first was headed “ACKNOWLEDEMENTS” with the following opening seven lines: “The Team from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the persons who have contributed towards the review/investigation by their input. We express our sincere appreciation to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force for supplying the necessary information and documentation that were used to conduct the reviews/investigation. Special mention to all potential witnesses not named in this report but who operated by facilitating interviews and supplied statements to shed light on issues that were left hanging with proper justification.”
Another heading, on page 11: “Death of Derrickson Auguste O/C Mad Dog age 22 years D.O.B. 08/02/1988.”
Lack of space forces me to end here at this time. Be sure to tune in next Saturday for more details, much of it mind-boggling, from what may or may not be the original IMPACS report. Only the government knows for certain!