Monday, November 3, 2008

Death dances still

Randomly studying I stumbled upon this poem by Sylvia Plath, which I would have included in my post by the same title had I been reading as I should have been:

Danse Macabre

Down among strict roots and rocks,
eclipsed beneath blind lid of land
goes the grass-embroidered box.

My dog did not have a box, we simply wrapped her in a towel and handed my stepfather the keys to the car, I don't know what he did with her body, but I do not think he buried her. Had I been thinking beneath my red, swollen, eyes I would have written her an elaborate epitaph, engraved it on a tombstone made of wood and buried her someplace where she'd always be close.

She was my reason for believing in reincarnation, unlike any dog I had ever come across, she had a soul that I am certain once inhabited a human form, I hope she understood how much we all loved her that night, last night as we watched her breathing slow to an end. It will puzzle many, my passion for a "mere animal", all but those who knew her. Below is the first poem [if it can be so called] I ever wrote.

My Dog

My dog is a reflection of me
see how she cries and gnaws and scratches
and shits all over everything when she thinks you've abandoned her?
Typical bitch.

I loved that bitch....RIP PHOEBE, and to the millions of other souls lost today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ok...sooo...why are we celebrating Halloween again?

It may or may not by now be evident that I have a fascination with the occult and mythology in general [no, i've never had a seance but that is only because i've never found anyone willing to summon spirits with me]. As skeptical as we are we tend to once in a while feel a tinge that there is something lurking beneath the surface of our petty human existence that is not easily seen.

Jamaica, in it's habit of adopting other people's cultures has in recent years seen a drastic increase in the number of people "celebrating" Halloween. Halloween? Are we serious? I have even received word that as we speak certain gated communities, with a majority of "pigmentally-challenged" residents are ensuring that everyone's apartment is stocked full of candy to accommodate the "Trick-or-Treaters".

It all makes me wonder if we understand where the tradition is coming from, and subsequent to this understanding shouldn't we be asking ourselves why the hell we are celebrating a custom that in it's origin welcomed the dead to walk amongst the living?

The origin of Halloween dates back before Christ. The Celtics' mythology taught that with the coming of winter, a season of the dead, came a night in which the spirits of the dead could freely roam about with humans.

During this interval the normal order of the universe is suspended, the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily removed, the sidh lies open and all divine beings and the spirits of the dead move freely among men and interfere sometimes violently, in their affairs.
(Celtic Mythology, p. 127)

To appease the spirits and the gods that were worshipped, the Celtic people would put out their best food offerings on the doorstep. Celtic priests would also offer sacrifices, animal and human, to the gods to ask for a return of the sun and in hopes that the gods would chase away the evil, frightening spirits. Often, the Celtics would wear dreadful costumes, hoping to fool an evil spirit with the disguise.

I'll admit, this "theory" leaves much to be desired, but in the context of the situation, as the rain continues to fall outside for what is now maybe the fourth day, and children are being kidnapped, raped and mutilated everywhere. Should we really be filling our bodies with various narcotics while wearing costumes that [by the fact of anonymity] just welcome sinister activity?

Then again, this is Jamaica, we're all just looking for another excuse to party aren't we? "No Problem Mon".

Today's Tune:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Danse Macabre

"The Dance of Death" is believed to have it's origin in art; as a genre, a concept wherein death and it's victims are painted in an abysmal waltz toward the grave. The artists are careful to ensure that the victims painted are from all walks of life:

"The dances of death were mostly painted (or more rarely carved) on the outside walls of cloisters, of family vaults, or inside some churches. These frescoes represent an emaciated corpse or a skeleton coupled with a representative of a certain social class. The number of characters and the composition of the dance vary. The dance of death often takes the form of a farandole. Below or above the picture are painted verses by which death addresses its victim. He often talks in a threatening and accusing tone, sometimes also cynic and sarcastic. Then comes the argument of the Man, full of remorse and despair, crying for mercy. But death leads everyone into the dance: from the whole clerical hierarchy (pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, canons, priests), to every single representative of the laic world (emperors, kings, dukes, counts, knights, doctors, merchants, usurers, robbers, peasants, and even innocent children). Death does not care for the social position, nor for the richness, sex, or age of the people it leads into its dance."

I first became familiar with the Danse when i came across a non-fiction Stephen King book by that title one random evening in a Sangster's Bookstore (I often wander aimlessly in search of a title that will grab me and this was one of these days), the book itself is not of particular importance right now, it is simply the image that has remained embedded in my psyche.

There is the sound of that music outside our doors, and it is getting louder, there was once a time when we would have to strain our ears but he comes for us all, and in ways we could not imagine.

I am not trying to freak anyone out [though this is often the case], but there is something very serious going on here on this little island, and it is the children who are being targeted, "Why?" we all ask, and in turn I respond "Do we really want to know?"

"The Church of Satan is very much in Jamaica, there’s at least one in every parish, and that has been the case for at least 10 years, so it should have multiplied by now", these were the reverberating words of a man of God that sent a sensibility as naive as my own diving back into the ever-expanding world of the big question sign.

The recent upsurge of violent crimes against children in this nation is a serious cause of concern for many and of course with concern comes much speculation.

"It could not have been a teenager that severed the head of 11-year old Ananda Dean", said the woman to my left, but then I reminded her that the mutilated, dismembered AND sodomized body of 11-year-old Aakim Scott was found stuffed in a 100-pound polyethylene bag, with the limbs and head separated from the torso just a week before is said to have been the handy work of FIVE teenagers who have been held in police custody.

"Not a teenager, but a teenager possessed", said the man pointing his finger matter-of-factly.

So while this may raise eyebrows and bore skeptics I decided to consider the possibility; are we now simply in the "season" for satanic ritual, or has the moral decline of the nation simply hit a new low? In essence doesn’t one eventually lead into the other? Is the label "mental illness" simply a cop-out? Or have all the violent schizophrenics just been let out of Bellevue to prey on an unsuspecting and vastly under-informed public?

Philosophically speaking, as a "Christian Nation" it would be contradictory of us to acknowledge the presence/existence of one entity while ignoring that of the other. In essence, God cannot exist without the Devil, it would render the sacred text fictional and society would as a consequence be left without its "moral guide". [The Bible as a tool for social control is an issue I will not discuss today, today we assume that there was indeed a Moses].

I am in a sense ashamed to now be quoting from the "XNews", but really if such issues were to be raised in more "legitimate" publications they would no doubt be frowned upon by those who pay to have their images plastered over the "Something Extra" pages, besides them seh "what nuh go so nearly go so". In their issue "Satan worship on the rise (October 8 - 14)" the writer quotes an unnamed preacher thus:

"I was called to a house the other day where there was a demon possession and I found a statue of the devil in the girl’s bedroom. She lived on her own, and perhaps had been practicing some sort of witchcraft; her parents were very surprised. We live in dangerous times, they found a half a man at the wharf the other day, a young boy was savagely mutilated and butchered like an animal sacrifice, and another young girl was beheaded. These are not normal crimes. People gain power in Satanic churches by making human sacrifices".

It has been long said that the church of Satan engages it's members in what is called "Ritual Abuse", "SRA: Satanic Ritual Abuse", "Ritualistic Abuse", "Sadistic Ritual Abuse", "Cult Related Abuse", etc. Perpetrators are believed to drink the blood and eat the flesh of the victims and engage in sexual abuse. Generational Satanists are believed to sacrifice some of their children and pass on their killing and mutilating rituals to other children. It is not unheard of, and it is far from impossible.

Whatever the cause, the island is in dire need of a serious purging. Have we, in the centuries following the enslavement of our ancestors gotten so close to a God with whom we cannot relate that we are able to poke holes in the image of the white knight and in disillusionment turned to another?

I [in all my Afro-Centricity] call for a return to the tradition of the libation, you'll remember, if you think long and hard enough, when your Granny used to sprinkle rum on the earth before breaking ground, when red strings were tied around the wrists of babies to ward off evil, when the "nine night" was a ritual involving more than just drinking manish water.

The synergy between "pagan" African and Christian rites is fading. The death penalty has not been put into effect in years, despite heavy public approval, though on paper it is very much legal. What is the solution? How do we punish the perpetrators? How do we identify where evil lurks, or when and where it will find it's next victim? I don't know, but I find solace only in the knowledge that one day, the dance will lead them too into the darkness.

Lorna Goodison's poem "Jamaica 1980" left a haunting image in my mind with the lines:

For over all this edenism
hangs the smell of necromancy
and each man eats his brother's flesh....


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


The word generally conjures up images of political, economic and cultural autonomy, but in the Jamaican context and in my own mind it is all a lie.

Despite the fact that it has now been 46 years since we have "gained independence" I am yet to see where this is actually so. I have spoken before on the fact that we are a nation almost entirely dependent on external sources for things as basic as our food supply, not to mention foreign exchange and that which I am most ashamed of; the assimilation of American culture to the point where we have lost ourselves almost completely.

Now, fresh from the fanfare of an Independence celebration complete with the renewal of floats, ceremonial entrances by various over-hyped ministers of state [whom I personally believe should be paid based on performance...and we should all have a referendum for the same], performances by an array of reggae artistes and other classical musicians and of course a mystifying fireworks display, this day more than anything should force us to ask ourselves what exactly have we done to earn the celebration?

And also why am I forced to stand at attention every time I go to see a movie when i'd rather just sit and eat my popcorn? [it's not that i'm unpatriotic, it's just that the thing is introduced by some voice telling me the national anthem is a symbol of our independence and my refusal to stand makes a statement :)]

Now while I am not advocating that patois me made our official language, I often resent being forced to speak "the Queen's English", and even worse to abide by the queen's laws still listed as part of our constitution. Law and order is necessary to avoid anarchy, but should we really have to rely on the British to make them?
Even worse we have slowly allowed globalization to influence our youth to wear those "hip" Kanye West shades to sessions at NIGHT and now everybody wants to be a rapper.

One thing I must express is my joy at seeing the patriotic turn-out of Jamaicans from all walks of life decked out in black, green and gold at the national stadium. Not to mention the floats from every group of people, from the "Passa Passa" float to the Coronation Market float. With this type of nationwide support we may very well be seeing the end of the predominantly upper-class carnival march [again an adopted custom] would be a welcome change.

Seriously people, i'm not here to exhaust you with philosophical babble [as a warm relative of mine has referred to my writing]...i'm just asking you to ask yourselves how far have we REALLY come?

Friday, May 30, 2008

This Jamaican Skullscape

So this morning, I paused for about 10 minutes looking at Las May's latest depiction of the crime situation in Jamaica (printed in today's Gleaner).

The imagery was really striking and though (since I work for the newspaper and sometimes hear the shots that take the lives of people in the surrounding communities), I came to the realization that not only have I (and I believe many others) become immune to feelings of discontent regarding these incidents of mass-murder, but that the issue has gone way passed the point of no return!

While I should be in fear of my life in these times, passing yellow tape on a street corner and hearing the echo of a gunshot has failed to have any effect on my psyche, the damage already done, I am too used to these things. WE are too used to these things, and so we have become apathetic, and thus we have become part of the problem.

If we have no feelings for the death of another, then how are we to be of any assistance to those who are concerned enough to combat the problem? Of course I know that it is not out of selfishness, rather a feeling of impotence; we ask ourselves, what can we do? Crime Stop doesn't work, even for those who are close enough to the criminals to report their activity.

To find a solution we must first identify the cause....yeah, yeah, yeah we all say POVERTY...but there has ALWAYS been poverty, and these days robbery is rarely ever the motive for a murder. It is the ruthless disregard for human life: there are people who have been killed simply as a rite of passage for gang initiation. "Gangstas" with bleached faces and skin-tight jeans brag about how many 'duppies' they've created, while Mavado continues to proclaim that he will remain a "gangsta for life", and thousands flock to buy his latest NIKE sneaker.

It is obvious, though many would love to deny it, though many would love to believe we have minds strong enough to resist external (sometimes subliminal) influences, though even I in my youth believed the same: THE DANCEHALL CULTURE IS POPULAR, IT DOES HAVE AN IMPACT. Now I never used to have a problem with dancehall music, I once admired it as a poetic form, and it is not as though the lyrical content has drastically changed in recent years, but we MUST admit that of those who need an image from which to model their own that which is most popular is the image of choice. We do not ALL suffer from a crisis of identity, but there are MANY of us who do.

Thus, becoming a 'badman', a 'shotta' or an 'outlaw' is seen as something to aspire to. The ladies love them, the public fears them, and fear is confused with respect in a society where respect is rarely shown to those deserving.

I pay my respects to positive roots/rock/reggae bands like Rootz Underground, who I saw live for the first time last Weekend at the Calabash Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, the only place (as someone pointed out) where the Police don't charge people for performing works with expletives in its content. I fell in love with a song called "Farming" and will quote the line which mesmerized me:

"Music, well it's farming, be careful what you plant..."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Penis (Coitus) Captivus

So more and more, each day, I am realizing that we are more like animals than we want to admit. I have often watched dogs in heat, and seen how a bitch can reject a male by simply sitting on herself to bar him entry...and subsequently wished it were that easy for us..I've never seen a bitch get raped if you know what I mean.

Today, however, THE STAR reports: "Couple Stuck During Sex":

Reports reaching THE STAR say that the man and the woman showed up to the hospital in an inseparable sexual position, similar to that of two canines that had got stuck during the mating process. It is understood that the woman had to be injected with muscle relaxant by medical staff to release her severe grip on the man. By this time, however, it was too late as oxygen and blood had stopped circulating in the man's member for too long, hence it had to be cut off.

Now i've heard of there being a psychological condition that involves a woman being so turned off of sex that she can literally 'lock' her vagina to bar the male entry, it is rare yes, but I have heard of such a thing. Never did I imagine a woman could tighten her vagina to the point where the male (already inside) could be trapped there.
Lo' and behold there is such a condition.

It is called Coitus Captivus and apparently,if a couple finding themselves in such a predicament do not get immediate medical attention the lack of blood and oxygen flow to the penis could deem it necessary to amputate! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Well...they say they like it tight! I'm sorry, is it sadistic to find this shit hilarious? Well call me a sadist if it is. I'm just excited to find that it is possible for the vagina to damage the penis as much as the penis can damage the vagina!

I mean, these are the Cervical Cancer Statistics for 2008, in the U.S only (taken from the National Cancer Institute):
New cases: 11,070
Deaths: 3,870

Striking, is it not?

Now allow me my satisfaction since half of our Dancehall Songs go a little somethin like this: "gyal tap i noise, tap i noise tap i noise....gyal tek hot fuck, back shot yuh back bruk" (Aidonia)/ "Force it up hard in har..." (Mavado).

Just to clarify, for the men who don't know, there are times when in bed, a woman screams IN PAIN, NOT PLEASURE! This is NOT a good thing (for those of us who are not masochists, that is).

My Sympathies to the man whose dick had to get cut off....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Duppy Lizard

None of us are quite sure where it originated, this nationwide fear of the Croaking Lizard, what is it that causes us to flee the room at the sight of one? And why, for heaven's sake does my dog throw a fit at the sound of its croak?
As a 'country-girl' I was ever so often privy to various stories of the "Duppy Lizard"; It is an indigenous belief that has been passed on from generation to generation, and when I eventually left the ‘country’ I found that said belief was not restricted to that area...

The "Duppy" is a popular character within the realm of Jamaican fantasy (though many claim to have actually seen one), it is just like the "ghost" of any other culture. But in the mystic realm of the spirits the "duppy" is the least threatening to the Jamaican who knows his(/her) spirits. Accompanying the "duppy" are, among others:
The "Rolling Calf", "River Mumma", "Blackheart Man", "Jumbie Bird" (Owl) and the most vile of all..."Ol' Higue"/ "Old Suck".

Now, "Ol' Higue" also exists within the Folklore of other Caribbean Islands; it is believed that this spirit takes the form of an old woman during the day, but during the night she sheds her skin and hangs it on the branch of a cotton tree (cotton trees are revered in Jamaican culture)and then assumes one of a number of forms; ranging from an owl to a lizard, to a ball of fire, to suck the blood of her prey (she is rumored to prey particularly on infants). To defeat "Ol' Higue" one must, before sunrise, find her hanging skin and sprinkle salt all over it, so that it will burn her when she tries to put it back on, she dies if she cannot replace her skin by sunrise.

Similar to this legend, there is the belief that if a croaking lizard is left in a room alone with an infant it will travel up its nose and stop its breathing, this and its amazing ability to attach itself to ones skin draws a connection between "Old Suck" and the croaking lizard, one which in my opinion somewhat explains the birth of this phenomenal fear of the reptile.

Also, the lizard's physical appearance does not aid its popularity, its ghostly white exterior could also have influenced the myth. Not to mention its 'brazenness', despite ones attempts to get it off the wall (shoes, broomstick, bugspray, hot water etc.), it does not move, but looks you straight in the eye and dares you to come closer. One other thing, even after successfully getting it off the wall, the biggest challenge is to actually KILL the thing (I swear i've had many croakers return from the dead for revenge), the most assuring end is to cut it up into pieces, burn it, or MUST be a duppy

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Killing Ingredients: Investigating the ‘Willie Lynch Syndrome’ in Jamaica.

One questions the humanity of the individual whose first thought upon arrival to this island was of how easy it would be to enslave the natives and steal their gold, one questions his subsequent praise as our “discoverer”. One questions our inability to deconstruct myths of superiority and inferiority and establish a common ground upon which we can build a society true to the claims of 1962. One questions, but one has an explanation for it all; how one seed planted can have effects that ripple for centuries, one seed and a whole lot of water.

Others question the authenticity of what is known as “The Willie Lynch Letter”, a letter, apparently written in the 18th Century by a white planter by the name of Willie Lynch claiming to know the secret to mentally enslaving the African, for “at least 3 centuries”. Almost three centuries later, his words reign true. After first experimenting on his plantation in the West Indies, he came up with a simple formula; ‘divide and rule’:

These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On top of my list is "age" but it's there only because it starts with an "A." The second is "COLOR" or shade, there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations and status on plantations, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine hair, course hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action, but before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust and envy stronger than adulation, respect or admiration. The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. Don't forget you must pitch the old black Male vs. the young black Male, and the young black Male against the old black male. You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves, and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must use the female vs. the male. And the male vs. the female. You must also have you white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks. It is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect and trust only us. Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. If used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful of each other.

Indeed, we remain, perpetually distrustful, envious and malicious towards each other. We each want the other’s clothes, his car, his hair, his food, his house, his money, and his complexion, and we will destroy even ourselves to get it. Ever notice, a great majority of these ‘badmen’ have bleached faces? In concordance with the fact that a lot of them come from the inner city areas of the nation, there is a complex riding on us all, affecting us all negatively. It is worse however for those who feel it necessary to strip one or more layers of their skin in the quest to become lighter, and thus, ‘beautiful’. Ironically, it is also possible, though it is a somewhat rare occurrence, to find the ‘brownin’ with the desire to be darker if only to be accepted and treated as equal by those within her society who tend to (depending on where you go) isolate, or near worship her because she has a little less pigments than the others.

One of the major causes of crime is poverty, but the term I find is relative. There is in the ‘ghetto’, in areas such as my beloved haven Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston, “the mother of all garrisons”, a certain richness of culture and community I find lacking the segregated hills of Upper St. Andrew, where I wave at, but barely speak to my neighbours. In Tivoli, though there are no BMWs in anybody’s driveway, there is across from a cluster of zinc shacks a cluster of shops. Where one can find a video game arcade, outside of which a domino table where the men drink and play, this next to a restaurant, next to a barbershop. When you live in Stony Hill, if you’ve already started the journey uphill before remembering to buy a loaf of bread, odds are that loaf of bread shall remain in the supermarket until tomorrow…I want what they have!

On a serious note though, the poverty problem I believe can be easily solved by doing what Castro (Fidel) did in the 70’s and forcing those capitalist-minded property owners to give up a portion of their vast lands to those in better need of it. I correct myself, this cannot be done easily no one is willing to give up their hard-earned (or easily inherited) property for the betterment of anyone. It is understandable, yes where one has in fact spent the majority of his life single-handedly building his empire that it would be difficult to see it go. However, I am led to believe, due to my own close observations of the type of people of which I speak that there are some who only wish to remain in positions of ‘superiority’, an ideal apparently bought with money, an ideal which many will kill to attain, thus we come to the killing ingredients.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tourism Rant

In my discussion on the dreaded dependency of Jamaicans on their government and other "good Samaritans" to provide for them how could I have possibly forgotten the most disgraceful evidence of large-scale/nationwide dependence....the tower of Tourism.
I refer to it as a tower, because of it's looming presence and control over an economy and thus an entire nation of people.
"Over the last six years many of Spain's largest hotel operators have established hotels on Jamaica's north coast, thus establishing the country as one of the Caribbeans leading tourism destinations" (Jamaica Observer Friday, April 18, 2008).
Yipeee! this is supposed to be a good thing? Many of you will jump down my throat and try to convince me that it is, "we're sacrificing ownership for employment", someone once said. I implore you to look at the bigger picture...
We talk of dependence and what exactly we can do to change this, we laugh when Agriculture Minister Christopher Tufton asks us to plant Cassava and tells us it is the way forward. I would like to alter his statement a bit, I say, dig up all of the hotels AND THEN, plant Cassava (or any other crop that could provide self-sustenance for a nation and reduce it's reliance on the import of foods for survival).
This is no joke, not only are these "profitable" hotels sitting on fertile soil (with a new one popping-up each day), but on the inside of these institutions it's a modern-day slave plantation. This comes from my own experience as a front desk clerk in a Hotel, and being asked to "fetch" rednecks water, being called "Sheila" when my ridiculous name tag clearly states JARMILA, and being the subject of a particularly hurtful and eye-opening letter of complaint (written by a tourist) stating how lucky Jamaicans are that we are being supported by their money, and how much we need to better show our appreciation.
Do not mistake this for pride, we ARE heavily reliant on the tourism industry to provide employment as well as foreign exchange, and it is especially the first of these which bothers me most. We import everything from pills to bananas (though we grow so much of our own), we sell everything, from our culture to now our Sugar Estates (are we gonna have to buy sugar from ourselves now). Pills, yes, pills are made from plants, consider the unsuspecting white periwinkle (pictured above); Research into the plant was prompted by the plant's traditional medicinal role and resulted in the discovery of a large number of biologically active chemicals, including vincristine, a lucrative agent useful during leukemia chemotherapy.
"Periwinkle alkaloids have been used in the treatment of leukemia, Hodgkin disease, malignant lymphomas, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, Kaposi sarcoma, mycosis fungoides, to improve cerebral blood flow, and treat high blood pressure.
The most well known of the “vinca” alkaloids derived from C. roseus are vinblastine (vincaleukoblastine, Velban) and vincristine (leurocristine, Oncovin), which are now widely used pharmaceutical anticancer agents. An extensive body of literature exists on the clinical uses of the various purified alkaloids of Catharanthus." (
Ofcourse there is processing involved to extract specific chemicals from the plant, but it is only one of the many plants growing wild on this Island which can be used, in it's natural or processed form for medicinal benefit.

The Carambola (star fruit), for example is good for the treatment of nausea and pain. More focus on Agriculture could secure employment for farmers, provide self-sustenance in terms of food, and even medicine. Decreasing drastically our dependence on outside sources. Our only real need is knowledge of the value of our land.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jamaicans and The Dreaded Dependency Syndrome

In the wake of the recent protests in support of the latest high profile criminal Carlos Hill, I am forced to ask the question "what the fuck is going on here?".
For those who are unfamiliar, let me just run quickly through the context of the scenario. About 5 years ago, a man named Carlos Hill founded an investment company by the name of Cash Plus Limited, with the platform that it was here to save the poor from their states of deprivation and strife. The company offered investors a profit of 10 per cent per month on deposits, accepting 'deposits' from a minimum of $100,000.
Unbeknown to the investors, Mr. Hill had previously served 10years in prison for fraud and was about to face these charges again.
Cut to April 17, 2008, Carlos Hill, his brother Bertram and company executive Peter Wilson are at their bail hearing at the Halfway Tree RM Court (Criminal Division).
After a train of fleeting cases to do with "exposing goods for sale", the usual "copyright infringement","ganja possession", and your everyday machete-chopping incident, the court is ready to hear the days (and maybe month's), biggest case.
It is estimated, by the Police (who have yet to confirm), that an amount of over 8 million dollars in sums have been defrauded under the name of the company (Cash Plus Limited). They are also yet to confirm whether or not the string of offshore accounts in the name of Mr. Hill (accounts in Countries ranging from Switzerland, to Turks and Caicos, to China)hold enough money to repay his debt to society.
As a result of this incomplete investigation, both Hills are denied bail for at least another month, while Wilson is offered bail posted at 5 million...
The issue however in my book, is not that this man defrauded thousands of people, but that these people allowed him to defraud them, which brings me to the discussion of the dependency syndrome, that which as Michael Manley proposes in his book "The Politics of Change", as our major barrier to achieving a productive, unified, self-reliant Nation.
"We want Justice", as simple and logical as it sounds, this, the most commonly written demonstration placard is clue to the issue of which I speak. Allow me to clarify, I am not saying that if a child is murdered by the police in a community then "justice" should not be sought. I am speaking of an entirely different issue, people are always blaming the government for their problems, when that government is elected BY the people. While the government does possess the means and authority to oppress it's people, the people themselves are completely oblivious to their own power.
At election time we all jump on the political bandwagons, wearing our respective green and orange in support of a party, without paying attention to that party's candidates, because maybe our grandparents voted for that party. You think I would ever vote for a party comprising mainly of Upper St. Andrew businessmen? Of course not, that just looks to me like a Capitalist Empire waiting to happen. So here we are, less than a year later, with drastic tax hikes and reduction in the University's subsidy (so that now, inevitably the caste system will expand even further). "Reciprocate and pay your taxes", Audley Shaw laughs as he makes this announcement in is Budget presentation sometime last weeks, as if we are all in this together.
What's the reason, you ask, whether or not they'll tell for this drastic hike? "Free Education" and "Free Health Care", the promises made in the election campaign must be, free, free, Jamaican's are suckers for anything "free".
Last year I worked for a phone company which had duped most of it's clients by printing in bold "Free Unlimited talk-time to the U.s, Canada and the U.K", and in fine print "Minutes capped at 1000, $5 per min after". We are always warned to read the fine print but we never do.
So, on the day Carlos Hill hears he will have to watch his ass in jail for at least another month I am utterly shocked to find outside a small band of placard-holding Carlos Hill supporters. In the courtroom, the defense had referred to the man on numerous occasions as the "saviour" of the poor, to this there were snickers of amusement, but lo and behold, outside reads a sign; "Free Carlos Hill, he send our children to school, he shelter and feed the poor".
He appears to be their "saviour" indeed. Though I have never really had to wonder where my next meal is coming from, and while I am grateful for that privilege, I must ask, does one really need a saviour? Where one is mentally ill, physically disabled or otherwise incapable, I might agree to the necessity of such a person. It is hard, however to show sympathy to one who buys a new set of clothes (and hair weave) for every session, while leaving her children neglected and hungry. The children of course, did not choose their situation, and it is they for who my heart weeps.
There is a man in Falmouth who sells bags made out of matchsticks, an Old woman in St. Catherine who sells Calaloo seeds for a living, and in her backyard plants and nurtures just about any seed which may yield produce that can be sold to assist in the payment of the light and water. For them I have the greatest of respect, because they have made the most of their situation, in the face of immeasurable odds.
While to a large extent the government must be blamed for it's refusal to take as a priority the possibility of self-reliance through renewable resources like Agriculture. I have little sympathy for those who do nothing else...