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Raffique Shah


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Relieve rapists of their tongues

By Raffique Shah
June 08, 2008

With 27 years of writing columns under my belt-I once wrote two columns a week, but never scaled Keith Smith's one-a-day heights-how well I recall sitting before a typewriter and pondering for hours: what topic shall I choose today? At this sordid point in our nation's history, that question has reversed itself: what do I not write about? Which is a hell-of-a-dilemma: it's a sign of the times we live in. So much to write about, so little space.

For example, I can focus on National Security Minister Martin Joseph and the numerous "arrestesses" he expects to make to bring crime under control by 2011. Of course, with the number of murders for this year ticking away faster than the Beijing Olympics countdown-clock, we may yet win "gold" in body-count before the first event of the Games gets underway. But our Jamaican cousins, always ready to humble us (look how Usain Bolt came on the sprint-scene after Darrel Brown, and he has already shattered several records), would edge us out in bloodletting as well. So for this week I shall ignore Joseph. I shan't call for him to step down. He's already in a crime-pit, so how much lower can he go?

I thought about addressing Barack Obama's likelihood of becoming America's first non-all-white president. But I'll need much more space to spell out why Barack will not bring on the many changes people believe he would. That all-powerful military-industrial complex that really runs America would cut him down the way they erased Lincoln, JFK, Martin Luther King and sundry other prominent leaders. Although I sense a mood for change among many White Americans that overrides colour and class, for those who make billions of dollars out of America's war machine, you simply can't have a half-Black messing with that kind of windfall.

But my editor would need to spare me much more than half-a-page to delve into the significant shift-not quite seismic-among Americans in general, their yearning for serious changes in that country's social and economic systems, its future role in global politics. So if not Barack, what?

The UDeCOTT scandal that seems to be a Pandora's box Prime Minister Patrick Manning is hesitating to open, fearing what may fly out of it? Two weeks after he caved in to a public outcry for a thorough investigation into the affairs of the do-it-all company, he cannot find someone willing to head a commission of enquiry. Things are becoming rather rough for the PM.

There is no shortage of eminent people in this country who qualify to head such an enquiry. Why are they shying away from peering into UDeCOTT? Could it be that they, too, are afraid of what they may find? Or could it be that with several previous enquiries yielding reports but no action, they do not wish to waste their time? It has been more than two years since a report on the incomplete Scarborough hospital was handed in to Government. No one has been charged with any wrongdoing, not even the people or firms that chose the site for the structure, which was the genesis of problem. A probe into the Biche High School has left only a multi-million-dollar complex standing idle, gathering moss, rust, rot and who knows what else. Meanwhile, the children of the area suffer unduly as they shuttle to schools far from their districts at ungodly hours.

I shift focus to the many Mano Benjamins who have emerged from Jah-knows-where to stalk, brutalise, rape and murder our womenfolk. Way back when rapists were fewer, Mano gained notoriety as the "Beast from Biche", as the late Justice Evans Rees dubbed him. Mano, a giant and an ogre wrapped into one burly frame, had committed such heinous acts on two young women, his name became synonymous with unspeakable crimes.

Today, it seems there are many Manos stalking the country. And they no longer need to be "big and bad". A slip-of-a-man is said to have confessed to brutalising an eight-year-old to death, a most gruesome one if we are to accept media and police reports. Looking at him on television, I thought to myself: little wonder he chose to attack a child. If a geezer like me were to hit him one backhand-slap, he'd surely take the count. But a child was an easy victim for that excuse-for-a-man.

Then another Mano raped and brutally murdered a woman in the Aripo area. There were several reports of girls and women either being raped during robberies or by men pretending to be taxi-drivers. What the hell is happening in this country? As if gang-related murders are not enough to cope with, we now have gangs of rapists scouring the country, seeking out hapless victims.

I am no sadist. But I think confirmed rapists should have their "members" sliced and their tongues removed-sans anaesthesia. Remove their two weapons of sexual destruction, especially the latter, which is often the only one operational. Ah lie?