Case of the Man called Boy

I done tell mih friends and mih family
Not to worry
Anyone of them interfere with me
It eh easy
Don’t worry to beg the jury
Save the lawyer fee
And if yuh have any mail
Send it to me in the Royal Gaol
Royal Gaol, Mighty Sparrow

It’s the most serious question of the year. More serious than Section 34. More serious than the highway. More serious than whether we are going to hell in a handbasket called corruption. The question is: are they going to send the man called Boy to jail?

The first surprise is that he was found guilty in the first place. That was about as shocking as the fact that Ish and Steve escaped extradition.

Town say, it good for him. They start to wonder who the Golden Grove Soca Monarch will be. If you do the crime and you guilty, you have every right to do the time. All of these law-abiding citizens who have the moral rectitude to cast the first stone. Who never drive drunk and never pay for sex and never smoked a spliff and never got in a fight in a club and never pelt bottle in the Oval.

They glad that he get what coming to him. Because locking up Boy will make up for all the other cases, like Brad Boyce and others, where those who had the power to be above the law escaped the justice that should have been served. Meanwhile, the jokes jook like the waists of these same people who wine their way through endless Carnivals, play mas and dingolay as if there is no tomorrow. The fete will continue whether the Boy is in or out of jail.

The derision flows on social media and the radio stations. Trinis doing what they do best. Disguising their guilt in laughter and relief that they never got caught in whatever ratchifee they were doing. Not understanding that if the Boy is a monster, he is one of our own making. So desirous are we of someone to worship. In this place soca stars and politicians are equally untouchable by the long, selective arm of the law.

In this place soca stars and politicians have a long history of being of questionable moral standing. Pimps and thieves. Gun men and treasury looters. They do it all and then smile sweetly at us. And we like it so. Like we love the husbands who beat us. And the women who horn us. And the children who sell drugs and then build us nice houses.

We turn a blind eye to their sins when it suits us. While we wine. We dismiss the stories of what beasts they can be. We put them up on pedestals until we are ready to kick them down. Because the truth is that we love a messiah but we also love the part where we get to crucify them. We love to make fun of one of our own. Doing like the Boy is said to have done and kicking a man when he is down.

Well, he not that down. Because if you are wealthy or a public figure then you have extra buffer to take jamming. The middle classes who are above reproach and never do anything wrong are particularly pleased with themselves now.

For those of us who follow instructions from everyone, police and politicians and soca artists demanding that we move left, right down to the ground and everywhere else, we are particularly gleeful. We want them to know what it feels like to have their freedom taken away.

I’m not sure how I feel about the man called Boy being found guilty. The prettiest people do the ugliest things, so Kanye says. The prettiest people disappoint us the most. Because they give us so much beauty we don’t want to believe that they are capable of such ugliness.

We want men to be manly. But only to a point. We are ruled by badjohnism but when our best and brightest act like the animals we tell them they must be, we can’t stand it. We want to lose them in jail so that we don’t have to confront our own guilt. We don’t want to confront the way we treat our own women. The way we want to get away with our everyday corruptions and criminalities that if they were ever identified as such we would gasp in horror.

We’re nice people really. Too nice for jail. Jail is for little black boys. Jail is for murderers and picky-head bandits. Jail is not for jacketmen who kill the spirit of the country every day with their absolute contempt for people. The question is not whether the man called Boy will end up in jail. The question is how we begin to rethink what justice means and who we allow to have access to it.

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