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Sunday, August 9, 2015
Helen Drayton

In this beautiful land of Moko Jumbies, jumbie rules. From the top of El Cerro del Aripo, you could hear its mumbo jumbo sounds like the bubbling mounds of earth in the Devil’s Woodyard.

If not jumbie haunting this place, then it’s La Diablesse, that devil jammette who disguises in pretty petticoat with zepingue tremblant to hide a cloven hoof and fool the people of Moko. Not all of them though, just douens, without eyes to see and with feet turned backwards.

If one weren’t living here over the past few years, it would be difficult to understand how manipulation of a curriculum vitae in an attempt to place an unsuitable person in a sensitive national security position could be described as a “flaw” and not fraud. Character flaw?

Flawlessly, the narrative switched from branding fraud as a “misstep” to calling it a flaw. Misstep didn’t have the elasticity to stretch around the truth. If the same Mokos who designed the wheel of misfortune are advising the head chieftain; then it’s easy to understand why outrageousness continues without interruption. At least, some modicum of sensitivity for the intelligence of the people would be respectful, but don’t expect jumbie to be judicious or have shame.

Eight chieftains were fired, some quasi-fired for inappropriate behaviour, others because of criminal allegations, yet others in cloudy circumstances, and there are righteous acclamations that previous governments never fired anyone for wrongdoing. 

Many others were shuffled out. Reality checks sometimes bring events into perspective. It’s hard to think of a government here or elsewhere that had cause to fire so many of its ministers for proven misconduct or alleged criminal offences.

Obviously, at play, was poor judgment or a jumbie spell that created their appointments in the first place. Some of the fired miscreants now have lucrative positions* as consultants or hold other titles at the expense of taxpayers. The covenant made with the people back in 2010 that they would rise was nothing more than trickery. 

There are attractive rewards for wrongdoing, just another symptom of an autoimmune disease called the jumbie syndrome. Countries contract it when governments infect public offices with incompetent political sycophants who destroy systems of checks and balances to the extent that institutional bodies no longer have immunity from the malevolent beings.

So, as it happened one Thursday evening in the rainy month of July during a weird episode of a television leadership engagement, the jumbie syndrome manifested in vanity exchanges. “Systems” were blamed for corruption, not the country’s chieftains. 

“Administrative issues” caused the plunder of over $600 million to benefit criminals in a scandalous Life Sport programme. All this without a hint of amazement from the engagers. The people heard that the chieftains were in full control of crime and that the country could be higher up on top but is on top, and that’s why it doesn’t have the kind of instability, presumably of other countries. 

Eh! Of course, the country has the distinction of high-ranking homicide ratings, among the worst in the world. It is the only one where jumbie with monopoly power patronises the head of the Police Service with awards of six-month acting stints.

On top of crime! The country’s chieftains haven’t defined crime, so how could they get on top of it. They see it through truth-repellent lenses. They define it only as criminal events external to themselves and are immune to moral authority. Instead, they sanitise criminality within the bosom of their reality and spin yellow-gold threads to create a web of confusion.

It is always comforting to be philosophical. The adage that things happen for good is often true—and sometimes, very timely too. You get a wake-up call, not that you were asleep, just procrastinating and avoiding making a decision to deal with the pain you feel and move forward. 

It was an excellent reality show, not pappyshow mind you, but the hit-you-in-the-face reality of a leadership exchange that paid homage to superficiality. 

It crystallised where we are 15 years into the 21st century and 53 years after Independence. The leadership engagement brought home in high definition truth the work we must do if we want our children to belong to a society that has a solid perspective of right and wrong, respect for the law and social justice. 

We have to reclaim the country from jumbie. True, heinous crimes are everywhere. 

There is no hiding place, but it takes stewards with the leadership capacity, integrity and willpower to disrupt depravity and turn the corner toward dignity. It is about using intellectual capital and technological resources to detect crime, pre-empt it and prosecute it wherever it slithers, starting within the country’s Cabinet and boardrooms. 

It can’t be just another day in Moko Jumbie paradise where “you run from the pain but the jokes pull you back again, and home is home, so you say, ‘Hail La Trinity.’” There, La Diablesse puts on a charismatic façade. It can’t be that jumbie continues to rule.


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