News

Sunday Brew — October 13, 2019

with HG HELPS
Editor-at-large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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A comeback of sorts by Minister Chuck

Anybody who knows me well knows that I am particularly fond of Delroy Chuck, the minister of justice.

But I passed through a passage of disturbance last week when my good friend lashed the police for the manner in which they arrested and subsequently charged former minister of education, youth and information Ruel Reid, members of his family; Caribbean Maritime University President Professor Fritz Pinnock; and Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence from the St Ann Municipal Corporation, a mother of six.

At first I thought that Minister Chuck had gone through a period of utter anger related to something else. So I waited... and waited... and waited, until it came, finally ... one of the top performing ministers in the Holness Administration decided to withdraw the comments; not that withdrawing one's comments mean otherwise.

It came a little more than 24 hours later, but Minister Chuck, considering his position, and the link with his daughter being one of the defence lawyers in the matter, could have done it no differently. I know that it would be difficult for Chuck, being Reid's former Cabinet colleague, to handle this, but we all have to face reality.

There must be one law for all – big and little; so it cannot be seen that some accused people can get the five-star treatment, while others are offered no star at all.

I have known Reid for several years. His big problem now is having to face the court of public opinion, not the St Andrew Resident Magistrate's Court.

Professor Pinnock is a man whom I have always liked and respected.

Both prominent officials say they are innocent. Let's hope, for their sake, they are right, and their attorneys can clearly demonstrate that.

The fine lady who offered to assist

Last weekend I had the honour of attending a few events put on by the Kingston College Old Boys' Association Florida Chapter ... better and more organised events you could not find.

After visiting relatives in West Palm Beach and preparing to head back to Jamaica, I suffered the mishap of developing back spasms, which rendered me almost useless as far as walking and performing other precious activities were concerned.

My first experience of riding in a wheelchair through Fort Lauderdale's Hollywood Airport was an exceptional one. The ride from check-in counter to boarding gate was pleasant, though not as nice as the employees of JetBlue Airways who accommodated me in the manner of a statesman.

And while seated with my KC mate Rev Paul Blake during the wait for the flight, a Jamaican woman, booked on the same aircraft, came across and offered her services, as she saw from afar that I was under pressure from a fellow called Pain. Let me clarify the services she offered: She simply asked if there was anything that she could do ... even to take by bag on the plane, or get me anything else that she could.

She is from Mile Gully in Manchester and is close to a friend of mine – Baron “Barry” Watson, a football coach who played cricket and football for Manchester, coached Holmwood Technical High, and served the executive of the Manchester Cricket Association and Football Association.

I did not know her. But she knew me, I suppose from media exposure. But her generosity and caring spirit stood out in my mind. I was left to wonder: Suppose we had 100,000 Jamaicans like her? You know how much sweeter this place would be?

I salute that fine lady. She knows who she is.

By the way, the wheelchair ride from the aircraft to the immigration/customs hall at Norman Manley was a bit bumpy. Seems the many potholes that we have across Jamaica made friends at one of our ports of entry.

That KC Old Boys event in Florida

Easily one of the finest and best organised events – the 21st Kingston College Old Boys (Florida Chapter) Big Purple Session was held last Saturday in Cooper City, Florida. It marked the first time that I attended, ending a long series of “You don't know what you are missing” chants by old boys based in that region.

There was the usual lyming leading up to the event that serves as one of, if not the leading fund-raiser for KC, but the session itself was magnificent. You would have thought that women attended KC ... the strong support of women, who outnumbered the men, a tale of how the fairer sex would have wanted to be numbered among the student population, had the founders and subsequent leaders not decided that it should be a manly affair.

There were closer to 2,000 people at the main event ... nothing you would ever find at any other KC fund-raiser anywhere in the world.

The main act, Freddie McGregor, did his thing in his usual professional style, and was joined on stage for the night's/morning's last song by my KC valedictory classmate Paul Blake, the former leader of the group Blood Fire Posse, who has now turned his attention to non-secular selections and attending to those who need spiritual guidance and healing.

The critical thing is that, apart from the strong support of women, there were many men, other equally brilliant graduates from more Jamaican high schools, who supported the venture and made the event one never to be forgotten.

The work of people like Audley Hewett, Dr Wayne “Chicken” Fraser, Maurice Burrowes, Everton Bailey, Audley “Fern” Patterson, Dwight Davis, Freddie Mills, Oliver Streete, Andrew Jackson, Karl McNeish, Dr Ivor Nugent, Keith “Teddy Bum” Martin, Dr Selbourne Goode, Chris Francis, Lindon Alexander, Baldwin Clarke, Dean Morris, Winston Barnes, and others will not go unnoticed.

It was good to see Jamaica's greatest-ever fast bowler Michael Holding, star footballer Douglas “Dougie” Bell, and track greats Clive Bariffe and Charles Headlam among those in attendance. My travel plans have been tentatively set for another Florida visit to coincide with the first Saturday in October next year, as long as the Almighty allows. And I don't think that I will ever be appointed a senator, nor asked to serve as education minister and thus put such a trip in doubt.

Kern Spencer has no right to comment on Reid's arrest

Oftentimes, the competition produces stories that are worth reading. It's all in the business of journalism; and the Daily Gleaner of last Friday printed an article which quoted Kern Spencer, the former Member of Parliament and parliamentary secretary, extensively.

Spencer was reacting to questions posed to him about the Ruel Reid saga. Now, while it was good of the Gleaner to do such a story, and it was interesting to read, if there is one man who should stay far from offering words of any kind on such an issue, it is Kern Spencer.

There are times when certain people should do the right thing and keep their mouths shut. Spencer is one such.

Feedback: helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com


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