Fri | Jun 22, 2018

Mark Wignall | A stone hit Warmington where it hurts most

Published:Sunday | May 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The irascible and incandescent Everald Warmington.

 

It is right up there with gallows humour and irony that Everald Warmington, a junior minister in Works not known for his high standards of parliamentary civility, and, having a penchant for aggressive and confrontational behaviour towards the media, should be questioning the mental condition of some of the persons writing for The Gleaner.

Specifically, it seems that The Gleaner's viewpoints on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) - a long-held and consistent one - and its new head, Kedesha Campbell, did not meet with the approval of Warmington's narrow, personal, political agenda.

The junior minister is also seeing things, specifically, duppies, and they are gnawing, newspaper-ish Gleaner types. To bring irony to its most stunning superlative, the minister suggested that "... we need to lift ourselves above the gutter. And the gutter journalism we find".

While I would be the first one in line supporting the lifting of ourselves away from and above the gutter in all we do, I cannot with any certainty agree with Warmington that the RJRGleaner group is out to get the JLP administration, that is, actively publishing material that is either more supportive of the PNP or is simply anti-JLP.

 

Comes with the territory

 

All governmental administrations will always come under pressure from news organisations because while the ruling party that forms the Government is automatically given the power to bring positive policy towards nation building, mismanagement and corruption are always those items that a good press should be more strident on.

History teaches us that nothing is as supportive of corruption like power, especially the unbridled and hidden types that exist in select uptown households in Jamaica, the hallways of

government and too close to the precincts of Parliament. Add to that the fact that governments in most countries have long been bought and sold by special-interest groups, it is hardly likely that advancing the interests of the poorest among us will ever be the real objective of many polities.

Junior Minister Warmington has exercised the gall he believes the Constitution provides him by taking cheap but very familiar pot shots at the RJRGLEANER Group. He is totally operating within his rights when he questions the mental acuity and the psychiatric state of writers, some of them, in The Gleaner.

 

Went to Bellevue once

 

My wife at the time could not quite figure me out as we drove out that mid-morning on a day in the 1980s.

By engagement, conversation, and understanding, I had earlier determined that an elderly lady who I saw on the road had been a patient at Bellevue. Now we were taking her back there. For expert treatment.

I must confess that before my wife and I drove out through the gates of Jamaica's most well-known psychiatric hospitals, I did take note that no journalists were in the wards. In a weak moment, I bent inwards figuratively and asked my wife, "Did you see any politicians here?"

No data exist showing that journalists tend to go off mentally coo-coo more than politicians exists in the land of Oz.

It is in trying to weave my way through Mr Warmington's rant that, in a moment, something fell on my head and it came home quite clear to me that politicians can never afford to expose the most delicate bits of how their mental wires are disconnected.

So, if a struggling journalist veers off what is socially and financially sensible and ends up in Bellevue or, worse, on the streets of a mean city, why would not a politician who has similarly veered off course be there beside him? Simple. The politicians can afford the privacy of private doctors. It's expensive, I would imagine, but, with support systems, the politician has a better chance of coming back to normality than the journalist.

Is there more of you there, Mr. Warmington?

"You and I have very divergent views on Warmington," said a JLP Cabinet member to me about five years ago. "He says some of the stuff we want to say but, oftentimes, have to be careful. Warmy don't care."

"So, he has to be uncouth and very confrontational?" I asked.

"A number of things drive Warmington. One is his longevity in the JLP. Second is his locally demonstrated popularity in his constituency. Third is, him don't give a ... ."

"Do you believe that Warmington's rant is not generated by him sensing political and electoral weakness in the JLP plus, a few of his people egging him to mek some noise?" I asked.

"The party is concerned about the crime rate. That is where the real argument is. Wi go to big trade meetings and international contacts are made and impressive presentations laid out with much oratory. Outside of the meeting, you know what everyone talking bout. The murder rate and the inability of the country to plug it."

 

Rape is like slow murder

 

It has become cliched to state that rape is the most under-reported criminal offence in this country. It is, of course, much more than cliche. It is fact.

For that reason, in a country where most men believe that a man cannot legally rape his wife and, a belief cult exists among those who share the view that the female of the human species is the progenitor of sin, it is in no way surprising to me that suspected rapists are always assumed to be innocent.

At the other end of the investigative spectrum is the chaka-chaka style of police investigations in Jamaica. Why is it that there are so few, well-known investigators and so many of those who just wish to show up to work, clock in the hours, then go home?

In a serious accusation such as rape, the least that I would expect from skilled investigators is that they are informed of the basics in human behaviour.It would be extremely painful for me to have spent a weekend in say, the small but bustling town of Ocho Rios and then I am visited by the police to inform me that I am being arrested for raping a woman in Portland. At the same time that I was in St Ann.

It is, indeed, a fact that most rapes are never reported. Sadder is that close to 50% of Jamaican men cannot handle whatever power it is they have or would like to wield. An offshoot of that is that many cannot draw a line between 'seduction'' and 'hol dung an tek wey'.

As someone who is constantly forced to look at both sides while seated closest to the edge of the fence, it bothers me that men, especially the high-profile ones, can be wrongfully accused of rape just as I know that many other high-profile men are abusing women and underage girls and getting away with it.

Many of those men in the religious community are, deep in their core, people who believe that a woman's best time is when she is in the kitchen or the washroom doing what the man believes she does best and was ordained to do.

It is a weakness of males just as it is an overreach by them to believe they, who cannot carry a child to term, must dictate to a woman who her body belongs to and if she should be imprisoned for terminating a pregnancy because she simply did not want that child.

It is a modern-day shame that the church, Christian, Muslim, Jewish or, the schisms within Christianity, are led by men who plainly want to disempower women.

- Mark Wignall is a political- and public-affairs analyst. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and observemark@gmail.com.