(This piece was first presented on this website in December 2013. On Wednesday 21st January 2015 the confession of Denny Shillingford was trashed as a lie by Denny himself and the case was dismissed as a result.)
One of my favourite songs of the Christmas season which many others see as the shopping and ‘sewo’ prelude to carnival season is titled O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The Bible tells us that Emmanuel means ‘God with us,’ well perhaps that Christmas morning Glenworth O. N Emmanuel (GON) may have had his doubts. It would not surprise me if GON and his wife would feel at the time that the devil had prevailed for indeed they were delivered a searingly raw deal in this supposedly God fearing island.
The story of Christmas morning 2010 when in the early hours GON was cruelly awakened by the harsh sound of an explosion which proved to be a firebomb going off under his bedroom still continues. Needless to say this very senior citizen attorney at law ran out of his house in terror with his very senior citizen wife Greta in full flight. They might have thought then it must be a drone that had targeted their home just like Obama does with the Al Qaeda terrorist. But it was not a drone; it was a locally made gasoline bomb seemingly intended together with the gasoline in the tank of his car to do damage to the couple bodily harm even death. We are mainly a peaceful people and tossing or placing bombs in other people’s homes for murderous purposes is not on our agenda except for at least one person who came forward to boldly declare like a restless warrior as I would put it in my words,” “ I am he the Christmas bomber.” So case solved right? Wrong. Case noh even start.
When Denny Shillingford hit the spotlight with his open and very detailed confession on a radio station calling out names and titles black is white of individuals who chanced to be well known and closely associated with the government we the people listened in stunned realization that our age of innocence had now become past tense. The Denny confession told us that we now had a mafia-like operation in our midst where if you offend so and so your blood will be boiled and shades of the Papa and Baby Docs of Haiti suddenly came over us. We could have a new song, “Like weeds by the water we can easily be removed.” However we took comfort in our police system which had assured us that the matter would be solved quickly and efficiently and that forensic this was done and forensic that would be done and it would all be well done with maximum transparency. But our police system failed us and indeed everything became undone.
Firstly we heard that Denny’s confession was not a real confession and then that it must have been more than 80 or so year old GON himself who woke up early Christmas morning then went outside in his pajamas and firebombed his bleeping uninsured house with his wife inside then went back up to his bedroom and then ran outside with his wife as in a scripted movie. The too many “thens” in that scenario spoiled any sanity left in the cuckoo’s nest. We were also assured that one of the persons of interest who was at the time in the USA would return to clear his name as soon as he was able to renew his US Passport but that would be a lengthy wait period. A quick look at the New York Passport Agency website disses down the long wait story and in fact the renewal can be done in time for travel in 14 days and even in 24 hours for a $60.00 fee if a ticket itinerary can be produced to the agency. I would think that this matter was of great urgency and the clearing of one’s name in an attempted murder case as of paramount importance but months passed and no person of interest appeared. This ‘seek him there and seek him over there’ even became the topic of calypsoes. Then in comes another Director of Prosecutions (DPP) acting for the real one who was on pre-retirement leave and right on cue an ultimatum is delivered from his office and the person of interest like magic appears in a hurry on our soil. The person of interest also holding a US passport is arrested and charged with arson and denied bail by Magistrate Evalina Baptiste and then granted bail a short time after when the DPP fails to appear at the further hearing. So if you think all this sounds like a Val Cuffy and Alex Bruno calypso stage joke then you would be right to laugh if this were not so serious a matter which we the people have not taken seriously enough.
But what has happened since the initial ‘roar’ died? Well ask the police. If the police officers aspire to serve the people they must not be guided by personal or political interest because that is not the way to gain the respect of the people. Professional police have the responsibility to ensure that people they serve live together in peace and unity mindful of what Peter Tosh sang, ‘How can there be peace if there is no equal rights and justice.’ Therefore the key word for the police force is professionalism. We the people expect this matter to be solved in 2014 and in that election countdown year to be thoroughly debated. Some believe that this matter will never be solved unless the government changes if so then the responsibility for solving the case rests squarely on we the people and the decisions we make in this coming General Elections (now past)
I have not given much open attention to it in this space hoping that the professional police would step up to be counted but it is now three years past and that has seemingly not happened. If there is no significant movement in 2014 then we the people can only come to one conclusion already suspected by so many that the matter of the fire- bombing is no longer about justice for GON Emmanuel and his wife Greta but about covering up a crime. If that is the case then the day will be one of triumph for the power and greed which fuels corruption and for this cause the whole fire- bombing thing is going nowhere fast, going, and going, going, gone.