Cultural Factors Cloud Assignment Of Blame
Nobody knows exactly what happened with Roy Morris of The Nation News, but for two days now Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground have been covering the story and rumours of a cover-up surrounding the veteran journalist’s alleged sexual impropriety with a 16 year old female. (See BFP’s Roy Morris Told To Resign From The Nations News ! ?)
Which version do you want?
The 16 year old girl was or wasn’t a Nation News employee. It was consensual, it was rape at Miami Beach. She was a virgin, or very well known. There was a gun, there was no gun. The board at the Nation News asked for Roy’s resignation immediately – or only after they tried and failed to pressure Police Commissioner Dottin to quash the investigation. There is a police warrant out for Roy’s arrest, or the investigation has been stopped. Roy is out of the county, he is on sick leave, he is on the run. The President at The Nation News gave Roy his car so the police couldn’t find him driving his own vehicle – Roy’s blue pajero was abandoned at The Nation for three days. The girl’s family has been paid off by The Nation News and this isn’t the first time… or not.
Police have done forensic tests on Roy Morris’ vehicle and the young lady’s clothing…. or they were ordered by the investigating officer and then canceled through corrupt intervention by Commission Dottin. Yes? No?
Somebody in authority knows the truth about everything, but so far they aren’t talking.
Caution: Bajan Culture At Work
Our friend David over at Barbados Underground posted his latest on the situation today – placing some of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the staff and management at The Nation News for remaining quiet over the years about Roy’s unprofessional conduct in the newsroom and elsewhere. After reading BU’s The Demise of Roy Morris: Veteran Journalist At The Nation Newspaper we heartily agree with David’s assessment of the situation – but we think he has left out some of the other cultural factors at work.
David mentions three Bajan cultural factors that are in play…
2. Our Bajan blind eye when prominent men prey on females and especially young females
3. Relaxed sexual values concerning adultery and general fornication
To David’s three cultural factors, we add a fourth that is probably at the very root of our inability to move this society towards a better future…
In Barbados, We Are Not All Equal Before The Law… Some Are More Equal Than Others
IF there is one area in Barbados where race counts for nothing it is that throughout our society the political, cultural and business elites are allowed and expected to disregard the laws that are supposed to apply equally to us all. That this dual standard is acceptable is heavily reinforced by the actions of many of our leaders who violate laws and societal standards at will – or change the laws overnight to suit their narrow purposes.
When an incident happens in Barbados – any incident – we knowingly look to the status of the people involved and can usually predict the outcome. Is the victim a nobody, elderly, poor or especially a woman – and the other person one of the elites? We all say… tough luck sweetheart – you haven’t a chance of seeing justice!
The elites are allowed to buy off the victims.
No charges are laid and things are “settled out of court”.
In the Roy Morris case we heard rumours that management at The Nation News sent journalist Timothy Slinger to camp out on the doorstep of Police Commissioner Dottin to call in a favour for Roy Morris – to have the investigation sidetracked. It was thought that with the rough treatment Slinger received at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital he might be able to call in the favour from a contrite and sympathetic Commissioner of Police – so the rumour goes.
Did it happen? I don’t know, but Bajas are willing to consider the possibility because we all know how things work ’round here.
When Our Leaders Disrespect The Rule Of Law, Ordinary Folks Shun The Courts & The Law
It may seem a stretch to connect the Roy Morris incident with the corrupt actions of Prime Minister Arthur ($750,000 “campaign donation” to his personal bank account), Minister Gline Clarke (Home built on expropriated land), Minister Noel Lynch (Instant millionaire) and the corrupt actions of so many others – but there is a real connection.
There is an attitude among the leaders of our society that they are exempt from the rule of law… or that they ARE the law. Thus, the government changes our Constitution over the weekend with no notice or public discussion. Thus, the government disregards the law and allows GEMS Hotels and a host of other entities to disregard filing financial statements as is law. Old widows have their lands stolen from them by crooked lawyers and the courts and other lawyers look the other way. Children have their parent’s estates stolen from them and the courts re-write the law from the bench to let it happen.
We’re not even going to get into listing the hundred other incidents of lawbreaking by the elites that every Bajan knows.
Decisions in our society are politicised and filtered to protect the elites. We all know the rules about protecting the elites so we all get into the habit. Even our street police officers have learned that the rule of law is a secondary consideration in Barbados. Thus a few months ago our police officers wouldn’t answer calls for help from a beaten woman for four days because “the elites” were involved.
The Concepts of Rule Of Law & “Justice Must Seen To Be Done” Are Foreign To Barbados
There is a concept that Justice “must be seen to be done”. That means that the Rule of Law is so important that we shouldn’t do anything to make people even consider that something might be amiss.
We ignore that concept in Barbados.
It says everything about our society that the Chief Justice of Barbados, Sir David Simmons, was one day the Attorney General and in the blink of an eye was crowned as Chief Justice – responsible for the Justice system that citizens rely upon to protect them from the excesses of government and government elites.
When Simmons was appointed as Chief Justice it was obviously more important to him and to the Prime Minister that HE occupy the highest court in the land – rather than have the purity of that court preserved by a more appropriate and less political appointment. Neither Simmons nor the Prime Minister cared about Justice “being seen to be done” in Barbados.
Simmons appointment was both a symptom of the problem and also an example of the corrupt leadership that has tainted our country’s values.
While Mr. Morris and all of us are in the end responsible for our own actions, the Roy Morris situation – and what has happened so far – is also a symptom of the worst of Bajan culture and corrupt leadership from the top on down.