Should Dudus sing?
Now that Christopher "Dudus" Coke has pleaded not guilty to drug and gun-trafficking charges in a United States court, it is being widely speculated that he will sing. To sing in this context means to act as an informer to the police. In Jamaica, the commonly held view is that "informer fi dead". In the USA, such a person is disparagingly regarded as a "snitch".
In the criminal underworld, a snitch or an informer is regarded as a traitor and a coward who sells out his cronies in order to get a decreased prison sentence or for him to enter into a witness protection programme which would see him being allowed to start a new life somewhere else far from the harm and danger that is likely to befall him if he should return home or reside in an easily accessible area.
In the case of Coke, based on the numerous charges laid against him, some 41, I am told, it is likely that if he is found guilty he will face life imprisonment. And even if his lawyers are able to argue successfully for him to get a reduced sentence, it is expected that he could face a minimum of 10 years behind bars. Against this background, going the route of plea bargaining becomes a most tempting proposition.
The Rev Al Miller has postulated that Dudus wants to end the stain of violence on his family as well as gang violence. Sounds too sanctimonious to be true? What about the man himself? What does he want for himself as an individual who now faces a long time in prison? It is in this scenario that the temptation of plea bargaining becomes a most exciting possibility!
But will Dudus sing? Given his short stature and corpulent structure, we may well anticipate a "wicked" tenor or bass. On the other hand, with that wig and church hat, who knows, he could deliver a mean soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto or alto. Whatever voice he chooses to sing in, suffice it to say that much vice will emerge and already there are those who are salivating with great expectation over what is to be divulged.
The Opposition People's National Party, through its spokesman on national security, Central Manchester member of parliament Peter Bunting, has given notice that it wishes to see Dudus sing, full chapter and verse, so that we can clean the house, so to speak. That's a tall order, Mr Bunting, bearing in mind that "the same knife that stick goat is likely to stick sheep"! Be that as it may, let us not forget that those persons fingered by Dudus may also wish to sing a tune or two, so we could be in for a long opera as Jamaica washes its very soiled linen in public.
In the meantime, there are those who may argue that it will not suit Jamaica to have its dirty laundry displayed in the open for the entire world to see. While others will contend that it will be a good thing to let it all hang out. Needless to say that in such a setting, Dudus could not return to Jamaica, no matter what disguise he chooses. If we are to go by what happened to a hapless Keith Clarke, it is safe to surmise that he would be a dead man. What is even more frightening is that in the Jamaican criminal underworld, "if you can't catch Quaco you catch 'im shirt". This means that Dudus's immediate relatives and close friends could become the targets of revenge and reprisals.
Coke is not an idiot. He is a smart man with a mathematical mind. Indeed, any man who could get the leader of the ruling party in his country who is also prime minister to put his political career and reputation on the line is a heavyweight in any language. And as if that was not enough, throw in the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips imbroglio as well as the Tivoli assault, the State of Emergency, the many lives lost, the destruction of State and private property, the millions of dollars in losses to the business community, including the tourism and export sectors, Rev Al Miller's self-proclaimed adventure into sainthood, the trauma and unnecessary distractions, and I could go on... It would appear that Dudus has much to atone for. In fact, one senses that some amount of sympathy has been developing for him which may well see him taking on the mantle of a folk hero. Step aside, Anancy, you are about to be replaced!
In all of this, I am somewhat perturbed that aficionados of Mr Golding have been hell-bent in making it appear that were it not for his courage and astute leadership, the country would not have reached this turning point. What poppycock! All well-thinking Jamaicans know that it was the United States which quietly flexed its muscles behind the scenes and read the Jamaican government the Riot Act in addition to the unfolding fiasco surrounding the Manatt Phelps and Phillips affair that caused the Golding administration to capitulate. A change agent by default or design?
If Mr Golding had resigned earlier, much of what has transpired since then may never have happened. Well, it has been said that out of evil cometh good and the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. I am one of those who remain fervent in the belief that Mr Golding should have stepped aside as prime minister to allow for due process and national reconciliation. But neither Mr Golding nor those in the JLP hierarchy who have supported his stance have the testicular fortitude and soundness of character to resign, so why should we expect Saint Al to do likewise? After all, we live in a country where there is one law for the Medes and another for the Persians. Take your pick.
This country is in a mess. Indiscipline is rampant. Corruption is all-pervasive. Values and attitudes for whom - Mr Golding and Rev Miller? For all we know, the musical score for Dudus may well have been written already. Strike up the band, Uncle Sam. Sing, Dudus, sing!