Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Mark Wignall | She shivers in fear

Published:Sunday | May 9, 2021 | 12:07 AM

About a year ago when Jelly made contact with me, it was mostly about a time not so far back in her life when she met a 30 something plus Jeff when she was just a sliver over 16. At 18, she began living with him. For the next six years, she floated between paradise and an unhealthy dose of disrespect from Jeff.

The handsome man openly walked with his newest pursuits and those who wanted to parade as his pets in the middle of the small town close to where they lived. To save her face from the shame, she retreated inwards and gorged on watching movies at home. One time when she was out for almost the whole day, he carried a woman to the house.

A year later, she left him. But one day he arrived at the new place where she was living and began to lay out a nightmare for her. A war of words broke out into his using a knife to stab her in the chest region and the belly, parts of her face and one hand. She recalls falling to the ground and gazed up to see him running away and looking back.

That incident planted her in the Black River hospital for about a month with a tube through her nose and down into her stomach. After that, she made contact with the Santa Cruz police station. The main reason she gave for speaking with me was that Jeff insisted on calling her phone while boasting that no police in his part of the parish could arrest him.

A year ago, I called the detective in charge of the case. He sounded reasonable over the phone but when I asked, ‘Why is he not arrested?’ he said, ‘The man is slick, his girlfriend is not giving us the support we need.’

When I spoke with her, she said, “There is a whole heap a talk ‘bout violence against woman. Look how long I report this and him still free and police telling you that I am supporting the man who always calling me and threatening my life … .What dem waiting on?”

The detective in charge of the case acknowledged the delays in not taking in the man accused of wounding and threatening Jelly and said, ‘But it is my understanding that she could give us more support in locating the man.’ This has to be a joke.

MORE PRICE INCREASES ON THE HORIZON?

A few weeks ago while trying to determine why a number of imported food items were facing such steep price increases while the Government was mainly silent, its potential impact on inflation one report stated this, ‘With the uneven recovery from the pandemic and China moving ahead of the pack, production of goods in China moved strongly ahead of other countries. Those goods had to be moved from China to where the demand existed. China needed empty containers and needed them quickly. As soon as a container was unstuffed at the destination, China needed it back as soon as possible.’

For every three full containers leaving China, only one empty one was coming back. To remedy the situation, it became far more lucrative for shippers to send empty containers back to China as quickly as possible rather than leaving them at the destination port to be loaded with other goods at that destination. Thus, foodstuff started piling up in some countries, like rice in Thailand, sugar in India and pulses in Canada because of shortages of containers.’

Various world trade scenarios of a year ago had made mention of the shifting scenarios but it was mostly based on how fast China could recover against the rest of the world. Well, that very recovery is proving that one country’s great fortune in this particular time can be the misfortune of many other economically vulnerable states.

One huge producer of meat products in Jamaica and the Caribbean told me: “Our local producers of table eggs, chicken meat, pork, beef and other livestock products have tried to squeeze the production cost bubble and hold costs, but the bubble is about to burst from the pressures. To maintain production, keep employment levels and still satisfy the nutrition needs of our people, prices will have to go up.

‘There simply is no other option. We in the industry recognise the fact that personal incomes have fallen and that we have a duty to keep our people fed. We also recognise that there is just so much pressure that we can take to keep the lid on prices. But, for us to maintain our industry for the long term, keep our staff employed and contribute high-quality protein to our Caribbean people, we must do what is absolutely necessary.”

LUSTING FOR JUNGLE JUSTICE

In the days not so long ago when Dudus was president in Tivoli Gardens, many were the uptown discussions on the virtues of ‘Tivoli Justice’, aka Jungle Justice. At the heart of the uptown justification for it was the caveat that it remains close to the jungle.

It seems justified that a high percentage of a country’s people would want to admit to themselves and float it around the ears of their friends and consorts that they would be prepared to kill those who did extreme harm to their loved ones. Especially where the machinery of the state fails to kill on my behalf those who murder those whom I love. PNP Senator Lambert Brown ran up his mouth recently and stated that he would jump in the line first for jungle justice, that is taking into his own hands his idea of delivery of justice behind closed doors.

Jamaica has long subscribed to this. I have watched the movie ‘Punisher’ and I cheered on every punishment he clinically inflicted on those who murdered his entire family. But, where the movie ends, the painfully reality of life begins.

And maybe we ought to be true to ourselves and the grand hypocrisy that somehow sustains us only because virtues are still within our reach.

Just about every special police squad formed from the early 1970s to just recently has been basically jungle justice squads – with government guns.

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