THE APPEALS PROCESS
The court of appeals has ruled to reaffirm the decision of the trial court in the case of dancehall DJ, Adidjah Palmer, otherwise knowns as Vybz Kartel, and the two accused who were convicted along with him.
Attorneys representing the trio, President of the Senate Tom Tavares Finson, Valerie Neita-Robertson, Bert Samuels, & Oswett Smith are all disappointed in the decision of the court.
It is natural for the defense attorney’s to feign anger or surprise, or both, when they do not get their desired outcomes.
And so Finson was outraged at the length of time it took for the court to arrive at the verdict it did.
“This is a travesty, it is unprecedented and it is outrageous … and the Privy Council will no doubt have something to say about that,” Finson told local journalists.
In December of 2019, Finson, wrote to the court with a view to finding out when a decision would be made in the case. At the time 18-months had passed without a decision.
One day before the verdict of the appellate court was handed down, I too wondered why this decision took the time it did.
As far as we know there has been no answer to that question, but it is important to reconcile that the decision of the court was a unanimous one by the panel of three judges.
The defense attorneys say they fully expected to go to the privy council, the final court of appeals based in London.
The main accused Palmer is a man of means so I’m sure attorneys are not constrained about the length to which they will go to get their way.
It is difficult however to see how they will receive the outcomes t they are hoping for in a criminal trial when in which they are not making arguments of unconstitutional actions against their clients.
In recent times information came to the fore that Kartel has continued his recording career from behind bars. People close to the convicted murderer have sought to downplay those claims and have argued that he had a portfolio of unreleased music that is just now being released.
But critics are not so sure, they adamantly claim that issues the artist talks about were not around at the time he was incarcerated.
More recently he was alleged to have used a cellphone from his cell to record and make an instagram post.
After an outcry in which many claimed that Kartel is receiving special treatment as a former star, a search of his cell was allegedly carried out and items of contraband were allegedly found in his cell.
I am just as hung-ho as anyone when it comes to criminals paying their debt to society. I am also all for there to be no special treatment meted out to any convicted person, particularly persons convicted for committing violent crimes.
On the other hand, however, if I was doing life and (a) I had the resources to be able to acquire some of the trappings freedom allows, and (b) there are corrupt officials willing to acquiesce to my demands for a price I would certainly want to have those trappings freedom allows.
The reality is that even though we may feel one way or the other about convicted criminals, we should not direct our anger at the people who are locked up but at the public officials who corruptly sell their dignity whether for a few dollars or because they are star-struck.
Wherever there are opportunities for rewards there will be people willing to take advantage. It is for that reason that incidents like the aforementioned persist in Kartel’s, it is for those same reasons they persist wherever there are prisons and jails the world over.
REMEDIATING THE BREACHES
It is for those reasons that I am fully in agreement with the Opposition spokesperson on Justice, Donna Scott Mottley who has called for a thorough investigation into the actions of correctional officers monitoring incarcerated dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, following a recent seizure of contraband from his cell.
Where I disagree with her is that there should be an investigation involving those monitoring Kartel. The system just does not work that way, sure there should be an investigation in this incident but it should not be about any individual inmate.
It is common knowledge that there is widespread corruption in all of the government’s services, the department of corrections is no exception.
Nevertheless, the head of the department should be hauled before a House committee to explain what is being done about contraband entering the nation’s prisons.
It is not aways corruption that allows for these breaches, incompetence plays a part, and sometimes a shortage of officers may allow for breaches to occur.
Nevertheless, the commissioner should be brought in to explain what step is being taken to remediate this issue and if he cannot stop the breeches he should be shown the door.
Last year the commissioner of corrections Ina Hunter was essentially demoted and transferred to the post of Chief Programme Officer in the Ministry of national security.
Lt Colonel Gary Rowe a veteran officer of 32-years was appointed to the post.
You may have missed the obvious, but as far as positions of power go, this administration in power, is of the view that past officers of the (JDF) Jamaica Defence Force, are a panacea to all of the nation’s problems. (See the commissioner of police, et-al)
Because this perception has been created and foisted upon our collective intellect, it is prudent to point out that not only have they not done better at whatever positions they have been elevated to, in many cases the data shows that they have done exponentially worse than others before them.
Notwithstanding, the lie seems to have taken hold and so there is no outcry when they fail. The general consensus seems to be that if they fail then no one could have done better.
This mindset is prevalent even among those who ought to know better.
It is arguably the reason that there is no call for firing the commissioner of corrections in this matter. In fact, there has been nothing but silence on all fronts.
Oh, and while we are on the subject, violent crime continues to escalate and there is no outcry, no demand to change the commissioner of police.
Because as you know he is from the army, if he cannot fix the problem it cannot be fixed.[sarcasm]
Such blind idiocy is the reason we are at a standstill, spinning our wheels as a nation.
Which brings me to the final thought. The job of the oversight agency INDECOM we were told is to investigate incidents of abuse by the security forces.
Withing its mandate is the JCF, JDF, & corrections departments.
It seems, however, that between demonizing the police and crying like a little bitch, there is no time left for the little power-hungry turd of an INDECOM commissioner Terrence Williams, to actually do something for the huge salary he is receiving.
He found time to complain just days ago, that the government did not give him and his bunch of do-nothing cronies, exclusion from the list of exempted organizations under the new curfew order.
In a letter to the minister of national security, the little Napoleonic narcissist bitched that, “citizen reassurance across all sectors is critical, especially during times of a global crisis such as this COVID-19 virus. Curfew impositions are necessary and fully understood, but INDECOM’s remit also provides community reassurance in this difficult time where the risk of citizens’ rights are further limited”.
In what is now a global pandemic, one in which we have no idea when we will reach a plateau, this crazed power-hungry, self-absorbed man wants everything to be about him.
At a time when the security forces in country after country, are struggling to get citizens to stay off the streets, Terrence Williams wants to be on the streets getting in the way of the police.
Because if the media isn’t taking about Terrence Williams, he has to find a way to inject himself into the narrative for his personal relevance.
You simply cannot make this up.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.