Mais, X6 and jus­tice

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION&COMMENTARY - Brian-Paul Welsh I Brian-Paul Welsh is a writer and public af­fairs com­men­ta­tor. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­ and bri­an­, or tweet @is­land­cynic.

THE LORD, on his high bench, pro­nounced last week that the fam­ily of a slain school­boy should de­sist from wak­ing the town and telling the peo­ple of the in­dig­ni­ties they have suf­fered along the cir­cuitous quest for jus­tice in the death of their child.

This cold case, long de­cided in the court of public opin­ion, is now rapidly dis­in­te­grat­ing un­der stage lights in yet another mag­i­cal il­lu­sion for the nightly news.

His Wor­ship is­sued a de­cree making it im­proper for the peas­ants to en­gage in idle prat­tle about this mat­ter of grave con­cern while it is sub ju­dice, al­beit half a decade later.

To lowly ears, such lofty pro­nounce­ments rang hol­low, for even those falsely con­sid­ered om­nipo­tent should know bet­ter than at­tempt to stop the mur­murs of dis­quiet peas­ants lest those whis­pers turn in­flam­ma­tory.

The lord’s fan­ci­ful or­der im­me­di­ately in­censed mem­bers of the ar­tic­u­late mi­nor­ity re­gard­ing them­selves as Ja­maica’s in­tel­li­gentsia, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of which are up to this very mo­ment vir­tu­ally en­gaged in all man­ner of ir­rev­er­ent be­hav­iour in re­sponse to His Wor­ship’s con­tempt for their favourite mode of so­cial­is­ing.

Is the public con­science within the ju­ris­dic­tion of Her Majesty’s court? Can the courts po­lice the up­town ve­ran­dah bet­ter than their forces po­lice down­town streets?

Since the bizarre in­ci­dent at the cen­tre of this con­tro­versy took place sev­eral years ago, it has been the talk of the town.

When Mr Power (as The Gleaner re­ferred to him in a Freudian editorial slip this week) al­legedly dis­charged a firearm at a pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle af­ter it al­legedly hit his hot wheels on a dark sub­ur­ban street, it im­me­di­ately evoked Pa­trick Pow­ell, who is ac­cused of mur­der­ing Kha­jeel Mais.

the ge­netic mem­ory of the way our ances­tors were ha­bit­u­ally killed and dis­mem­bered for caus­ing dam­age to mas­ter’s frag­ile ego.

High drama un­folded in the weeks following the child’s un­timely death, as the me­dia scram­bled to find in­for­ma­tion to feed the public’s burn­ing de­sire to know ex­actly what took place that night in the nice neigh­bour­hood, and if the nice man re­ally killed the nice boy be­cause of dam­age to his nice car.

In the eyes of the public, it was pe­cu­liar that ‘the sus­pect’ was able to avoid be­ing named and shamed as a ‘per­son of in­ter­est’ when or­di­nary peo­ple are ter­rorised in the me­dia for lesser in­frac­tions.


Even Ja­maicans For Jus­tice, which, by then, had seen it all and ex­pressly lost all pa­tience for so­lil­o­quies, is­sued a state­ment ques­tion­ing the man­ner in which this par­tic­u­lar case was be­ing han­dled, say­ing:

“The re­fusal to name the per­son while at the same time leak­ing all other kinds of in­for­ma­tion is in­ex­pli­ca­ble. In­deed, per­sons have been not only named but also in­car­cer­ated for weeks on the ba­sis of far less in­for­ma­tion than is in the public do­main in this case.”

If even those typ­i­cally ac­cused of hug­ging up gun­men could get so fed up with what seemed like the mis­chievous machi­na­tions of those friendly to ‘the sus­pect’, clearly some­thing was amiss.

For weeks lead­ing up to his even­tual ar­rest, the news­pa­pers gos­siped about the po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions, busi­ness ties and enor­mous wealth of ‘the sus­pect’, con­jur­ing a vivid nar­ra­tive of a pow­er­ful in­di­vid­ual, a so­ci­ety ‘smaddy’.

That per­cep­tion re­mained af­ter the sus­pect landed at the Nor­man Man­ley In­ter­na­tional Air­port late one night af­ter a sup­posed na­tion­wide man­hunt, was placed in a ser­vice ve­hi­cle, and taken into po­lice cus­tody.

‘The sus­pect’ re­tained coun­sel from the fu­ture at­tor­ney gen­eral of Ja­maica and was later charged with shoot­ing with in­tent, il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of a firearm, il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of am­mu­ni­tion and fail­ure to pro­duce firearm for in­spec­tion.

On Novem­ber 8, 2012, a foren­sic re­port in the mur­der case de­scribes find­ing gun­pow­der residue at trace lev­els on the back of the right hand of the de­ceased. De­fence at­tor­ney Pa­trick Atkin­son rea­sons that the gun­pow­der residue meant the de­ceased child had fired a gun. The following day, ‘the sus­pect’ was granted bail in the sum of J$10 mil­lion.

On Oc­to­ber 20, 2016, the Ja­maica Ob­server, in a re­port from the trial of ‘the sus­pect’, said: “Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Clive Walker to­day tes­ti­fied that Pa­trick Pow­ell had re­fused to hand over his li­censed firearm for test­ing when he was taken into cus­tody. Walker said that to date, Pow­ell has not handed over his firearm, a Glock 9mm pis­tol, for test­ing.”

The mes­sage in the op­tics and that in­flu­ences the public’s per­cep­tion is that in Ja­maica, im­punity is the mark of the priv­i­leged.

Many be­lieve some­one set duppy on this case be­cause the spec­tre of cor­rup­tion can al­most be plainly seen do­ing its usual mis­chief, but the word of the lord is that the peas­ants should see an’ blind and hear an’ deaf. Thy will be done.

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