‘Patwa’ Rights and Wrongs/‘Patwa’ Raits an Nat so Rait

Believe it or not, the Jamaican Constitution covertly acknowledges the fact that ‘patwa’ is, indeed, a national language.  Furthermore, the Constitution guarantees ‘patwa’ speakers basic rights in the legal system.    But don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself the relevant sections:

Chapter III of the Jamaican Constitution (2011)

Section 14 (2)

(2) Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right

(b) at the time of his arrest or detention or as soon as is reasonably practicable, to be informed, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest or detention;

(c) where he is charged with an offence, to be informed forthwith, in a language which he understands, of the nature of the charge;

Section 16 (6)

(6) Every person charged with a criminal offence shall

(a) be informed as soon as is reasonably practicable, in a language which he understands, of the nature of the offence charged;

(e) have the assistance of an interpreter free of cost if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;

The Constitution doesn’t explicitly state the fact that the language of the court is English.  Nor does it openly admit that the first language of the vast majority of Jamaicans is not English but Jamaican.  To concede this gross disparity would be an admission of the fundamental inequity of the justice system.  So, instead, we have compromised justice.

If you are arrested, and/or charged with a criminal offence and end up in court you are entitled to an interpreter who is supposed to ensure that you understand what’s going on.  Of course, no self-respecting police officer arrests anybody in English so there’s usually no need for this service on the spot.

Contemptuous court system

  But there’s a fundamental flaw in the Constitution.  There are no ‘fair trial’ and ‘due process’ provisions in civil cases for citizens who speak only Jamaican. One morning, as I waited in a Resident Magistrate’s court for my case to be heard, I listened in amazement as the judge explained in quite sophisticated English how she was proposing to handle a dispute about unpaid rent in another case.

The defendant was told that the case was going to be sent to a mediator who would discuss exactly how much rent she would have to pay.  The distressed defendant kept on insisting in Jamaican that she didn’t owe as much rent as the landlord claimed.  The judge continued speaking in English, simply repeating her proposal.  This back-and-forth went on for a good few minutes.

At the risk of being deemed in contempt of court, I jumped up and asked the judge if she would allow me to act as interpreter for the defendant.  She agreed.  As soon as the woman understood the proposal, she accepted it.  What angered me was the smug question the judge then asked: “Is that what I should have said?”  To which I disdainfully replied, “Yes, Your Honour.”

Surely, the judge should know that justice cannot be dispensed in a language that the defendant does not understand!  What bothered me was the haughtiness of Her Honour. She must have realised that the defendant did not understand her.  But it did not occur to her that she needed to use “that” language, Jamaican.

The same day, this ‘hard-ears’ judge refused to apply the lesson she ought to have learnt and failed to communicate with another defendant.  In this instance, the plaintiff did not appear in court and so the case was dismissed.  But the poor defendant, who did not understand that he was free to go, sat in court for a whole other hour waiting for the case to be tried.

I was so vexed I again jumped up and asked the judge why she would not make it clear to the man that he was free to go.  Her response was alarming:  she had told the man he could go and if he wants to sit there it’s his business!  It clearly didn’t matter to her that the man did not understand.  That was his problem, not hers.  I took it upon myself to tell the man that he’d gotten off.  And he quickly left the court.

Natural injustice

Now this is a judge who considered it appropriate to dress me down another day because, in her opinion, I was indecently dressed for court.  I thought I was dressed to kill in a ‘kris’ white linen pants suit.  Her Honour arbitrarily declared that my pants were not acceptable in her court. They were mid-calf.  Incidentally, there were women in skirts shorter than the length of my pants!

I excused myself and went into the corridor.  I unbuttoned the pants and got them to drop a good few inches. Fortunately, the shirt was long enough to cover my unmentionables.  I then hobbled back into court like those young men with their pants waist almost at their knees.  Of course, I had to hobble very carefully because if the pants fell to the floor I would definitely be in contempt of court.

The judge insisted that the extra inches made absolutely no difference.  She pointed to one of the men and said that his pants length was the standard:  pants, male or female, had to go right down to the floor.  In complete frustration, I turned to leave the court when the police officer on duty said to me, “Just tell her seh yu sorry!”  I did, with much insincerity.

I couldn’t believe it!  A few inches of cloth was a much bigger issue than making sure that the language of the courts is understood by all citizens.  This is natural injustice, plain and simple.

‘Patwa’ Raits an Nat so Rait

Yu maita no billiv i; bot ges wa? Aanda di kova, di Kanstityuushan a Jamieka admit se ‘Patwa’ a wan a fi wi nieshan langgwij.  Pan tap a dat, di Kanstityuushan se if yu chat ‘Patwa’, wen yu ha fi diil wid enting fi du wid di laa a di konchri, dem ha fi chat mek yu andastan.  Yu no ha fi biliiv mi.  Si we di laa se ya so:

Chapta III a di Jamieka Kanstityuushan (2011)

Sekshan 14 (2)

(2)(b) If poliis ares yu an huol yu, dem ha fi mek yu andastan wa mek.  Kwik-kwik.  An dem ha fi yuuz langgwij we yu andastan.

(c) If poliis chaaj yu,  siem ting. Dem ha fi mek yu anadastan wa mek.  Kwik-kwik.  An dem ha fi yuuz langgwij we yu andastan.

Neks sekshan: Section 16 (6)

(6) Ef dem chaaj yu iina kriminal kies, sed siem ting: dem ha fi mek yu anadastan wa mek.  Kwik-kwik.  An dem ha fi yuuz langgwij we yu andastan.

(e) Pan tap a dat, wen yu go a kuortous dem ha fi pie smadi fi chat mek yu andastan we dem a se if yu no andastan di langgwij we dem a yuuz iina kuortous.

Di Kanstitushan no dairekli se dat kuortous langgwij a so-so Ingglish.  An dem naa admit se fi wi haat langgwij a no Ingglish, a Jamiekan.  It wuda luk tuu bad. It wuda shuo dem op.  Shuo ou di shitstim wikid. Fi wi langgwij no bizniz iina kourtous. Wa kain a jostis dat?  So a it mek dem kom op wid di ‘mek op fi dat’ shituieshan.  Beta dan notn.

If yu ares, an if dem chaaj yu se yu komit kraim an yu en op iina kuortous, dem mos an boun fi pie smadi fi chat mek yu andastan wat a gwaan.  Stil far aal, no haatikal poliis afisa naa ares nobadi iina Ingglish.  So nobadi no ha fi chat fi yu de so.

Di shitstim a dis wi!

Sutton Street Court; photo Donnette Zacca

Di Kanstitushan av wan big-big huol iina it.   Wen yu iina kantenshan wid smadi an yu ha fi go a kuortous fi saat it out, yu no entaikl fi get nobadi fi chat fi yu if yu no andastan Ingglish.  Dat a ongl fi kriminal kies.  So yu salt! Yu naa go get no ‘fier chraiyal’ an ‘tings naa go ron rait’ if yu no andastan wa a gwaan.

Wan maanin, mi iina wan Rezident Majischriet kuortous a wiet fi mi kies kaal.  Mi kyaan biliiv it wen mi ier di joj a pap som big wod fi eksplien ou shi a go diil wid wan kies we di piipl dem a kwaaril bout rent.

Di joj tel di uman we uoa rent se shi a go sen di kies to wan ‘mediator’ fi disaid omoch rent shi fi pie.  Di puor uman kip aan a tel di joj se shi no uoa di uol iip a big moni we di lanlaad se shi uoa.  Di joj shi dis a gwaan brandish di big wod dem; an di uman naa gi op fi ar kies.  Dem gwaan gwaan kopl minits wel.

Mi no kya if dem se mi ‘in contempt of court.’  Mi jomp op an aks di joj if mi kyan chienj uova we shi a se iina Ingglish tu Jamiekan.  Shi se ‘yes.’  Fram di uman andastan wa di joj a se, shi agrii.  Di ting dat beks mi nou a wen di joj shii wid ar ekschra self a go aks mi, “Is that what I should have said?”  Mi jos kot mi yai aafta ar an se, “Yes, Your Honour.”

Yu a go tel mi se di joj no nuo se nobadi kyaan get no jostis iina kuortous if yu no andastan di langgwij we dem a yuuz gens yu!  Yu nuo we beks mi?  Di joj mos did nuo se di uman neva andastan ar.  Bot it neva kom tu ar se shi ha fi go yuuz ‘that’ langgwij, Jamiekan.

Dat siem die, di haad-iez joj rifuuz fi admit se wan neks difendant neva andastan ar jojment. Ier ou dat wan go!  Di smadi we a suu neva kom a kuort.  So di joj chruo out di kies.  Di puor man we dem suu neva andastan se im get we.  So im sidong iina kourtous fi bout a neks owa a wiet fi di kies kaal.

Mi beks so til.  Mi jomp op agen an aks di joj we mek shi no tel di man im frii fi go.  Mi kudn biliiv it wen shi se sopn laka “I told the man he could go and if he wants to sit there it’s his business!”  It no mata to ar se di man no andastan.  A fi im prablem.  A no fi ar.  Mi mek it mi bizniz fi tel di man, “Yu get we!” An im ron outa kuortous kwik-kwik.

Nou, dis a di sed siem joj we wies taim a jres mi dong bikaa shi disaid se mi neva jres prapa fi kom a kuort wan a di taim. Eniou, disya maanin, mi nuo mi jres tu pus bak fut iina wan kris wait linin pans suut.  Har Hana luk pan mi tel mi se mi pants no fit fi kourtous. Mi pans jrap a di migl a mi kyaaf.  Bai di wie, uman di de iina kuortous ufa skort shaata dan fi mi pans lent!

  Mi beg ekskyuuz an mi go iina di pasij.  An mi pul mi pans wies an jraa dong di pans kopl inch wel. Gud ting di jakit di lang so it haid op mi wats it nat. Den mi shofl bak iina kuort laka dem yong bwai wid dem pans wies dong a dem nii.  Mi ha fi a tek taim shofl kaa if di pans faal a grong a dat taim nou mi dairekli a dis di kuort.

Di joj shii naa bak dong.  Shi se di kopl inch naa mek no difrans at aal, at aal.   Shi paint pan wan a di man dem, an se fi im pans lent a di standad:  man ar uman pans, di fut ha fi go rait dong a grong.  Mi beks so til! Mi staat waak out.  A wan poliis afisa se tu mi, “Jos tel ar se yu sari!”  Mi dwiit, bot mi neva miin i.

Mi kudn biliiv it!  Kopl inch a klaat muor important dan mek shuor se evri sitizn andastan di langgwij we a yuuz iina kuortous.  Dat a no jostis.  Dat a wikidnis.  Op tu di blain kuda si dat.


 When Beenie Man’s hit single “Sim Simma” (Who Am I) was released in Jamaica in 1998, the DJ soon found himself in a rather awkward position.  He had to keep on explaining that there was a crucial punctuation mark after ‘fellow’.

How can I make love to a fellow?

In a rush, pass mi the keys to my truck

Who am I?

The girls dem luck.

      ‘Wicked and bad mind’ detractors insisted that there was no question mark after ‘fellow.’  It came after ‘rush.’  According to them, Beenie Man was confessing that he didn’t mind making love to a fellow.  He just didn’t want to do it in a rush. The placement of the question sign made all the difference.

      Like Beenie Man, I must point out the fact that NEPA completely missed the punctuation mark in the headline of my column published on February 6, 2011: “NEPA In Bed With Developers?” I was asking an admittedly provocative question, not making a declaration.  In a letter to the editor dated February 18, 2011, NEPA goes to great lengths to refute a claim I did not make.

      I suspect that NEPA is protesting too much.  Furthermore, NEPA fails to adequately answer the question I do raise.  If all of what NEPA alleges in its letter to the editor is actually true, on what basis was the sale of housing lots on Long Mountain advertised on August 2, 2009 under the signature of the minister of housing and water, Dr. Horace Chang?

      NEPA claims the following:  “Professor Cooper wrote disparagingly of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and may have misled readers to believe that the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) Limited has obtained subdivision approval for lands ‘part of Mona, Papine Estates and Goldsmith Villa, St Andrew’.”

Selling government lands without approval?

      Let us suppose that it is, indeed, true that the HAJ has not yet obtained subdivision approval for the lands in question.   Can this statement by NEPA be reasonably interpreted to mean that the HAJ was offering for sale government lands without the approval of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), the agency to which NEPA reports on these matters?

      The answer to that pressing question is to be found in another statement made by NEPA in its letter to the editor:  “In June 2009, an enquiry application was also received from the Ministry of Water and Housing to subdivide 8.45 hectares of land into 60 service lots. NEPA responded within the month, advising that further processing of the application would require the comments of the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Mines and Geology Division (MGD).”

      So far so good.  But, as it turns out, by NEPA’s own account, the very agencies that have been set up to protect the environment appear to be failing to exercise due diligence. Without the benefit of even a minimal environmental site assessment, all of the government agencies cited below were prepared to give their approval to the subdivision.

      According to NEPA, “The subdivision application was circulated to a number of commenting agencies: the Environmental Health Unit – Ministry of Health, NWA, Water Resources Authority (WRA) and MGD. Comments were received from each agency, none of which objected to the subdivision of the land for housing with conditions for approval included, as is the customary practice.”

Pointing fingers

      NEPA is now pointing fingers, apparently claiming to be the lone voice of sanity in a wilderness of woeful bureaucratic slackness.  The agency reports that it was they who insisted that an environmental site assessment be done.

      It seems as if it is only because the Beverly Hills Citizens’ Association Benevolent Society (BHCABS) contested the dubious findings of that inadequate site assessment that NEPA further demanded that a much more elaborate environmental impact assessment be undertaken by the HAJ.  Up to now, that impact assessment has not been done.

      NEPA’s letter to the editor promises the following: “We can assure Professor Cooper and the BHCABS that their views will be incorporated in the deliberations leading to a final determination on this application.”

Proverbial wisdom warns that a promise is a comfort to a fool. Residents of Beverly Hills are not going to be fooled by empty words.

      In my column “NWC Killing Us Softly” (January 24, 2010), I quoted the findings of a rigorous environmental impact assessment done in 2000 that documented the probable negative impact of the construction of the Long Mountain Country Club.  A decade later, evidence of the accuracy of that assessment is plain to see.

      In the last flood rains brought on by tropical wave Nicole, water that should have sunk into the earth, feeding the aquifer, instead wastefully rushed down the hillside off the asphalted streets of the country club.  Huge boulders were dislodged which dangerously levelled a major retaining wall on Beverly Drive.  Several roads were washed out and some still have not yet been repaired.

Dr. St. Aubyn Bartlett, MP St. Andrew Eastern

      With other members the association, I accompanied ‘our’ MP, Dr. St. Aubyn Bartlett, on a tour of the most devastated areas.  He flatly refused to believe the report of residents that there had never ever been such large-scale flooding of Beverly Hills before the construction of the Long Mountain Country Club. Dr. Bartlett fully supports the HAJ’s foolhardy proposal to convert more protected government lands into house lots.

      Hopefully, the environmental impact assessment that NEPA has now demanded from the HAJ will reconfirm the findings of the 2000 assessment:  No further housing ‘development’ should be allowed on Long Mountain.  But why would it have taken a full decade for us to go right back to where we started?  Profit over principle?  Heaven deliver us from those government agencies that Never Ever Protect Anything!

Clovis Draws Blood /Jraa Blod

When I saw last Monday’s editorial cartoon in the Jamaica Observer, I wondered if Clovis Brown had finally sold his soul to the devil.  I mean it metaphorically, of course.  I have no evidence that Brown’s taskmaster is demonic.  Butch Stewart, after all, is one of the outstanding leaders of industry in Jamaica.  Obviously, he’s a man beyond reproach. True, he must sell newspapers.  But, surely, not at any price!

Editorial cartooning has quite a distinguished history.  In some quarters it is a noble profession.  But in the case of Clovis, the genuine wit of the stinging editorial cartoon appears to have degenerated into little more than vulgar gutter sniping.

Caricature is one thing; sexist, racist and classist profiling is another. I will never forget the contemptuous way in which the supposedly ‘honourable’ Prime Minister, Mrs. Portia Simpson Miller, was demeaningly portrayed by Clovis during the last general election campaign.

Women seem to be particularly easy targets for this cartoonist.  Just think about last Monday’s sick joke.  Here’s the titillating, pornographic scenario:  The University of the West Indies, Mona is an open coffin from which arises ‘Prof’ Vybz Kartel, a grinning, bloodthirsty vampire.  And the generic patwah docta’ -whoever that is – seductively invites the kiss of death.

The murderous message in this necrophiliac cartoon is not even subliminal.  It’s right there on the surface.  UWI is a ‘dead yard’.  Jamaican popular music is a ‘nine-night sankey’.  And academic discourse on both the music and the mother tongue of the masses of the Jamaican people is a sure death sentence.

Still, I wanted to give Clovis the benefit of the doubt. I tried to imagine that his soul was, indeed, his own.  I hoped that his work was inspired by a much grander motivation than simply filthy lucre.  Art for art’s sake, perhaps?  Or art in the service of politics, even?

In any case, as Professor Kartel humorously demonstrated in his now world-famous public lecture at Mona (thanks to the Internet), the mechanics of selling one’s soul to the devil can be rather complicated.  Taken literally, all the precise details of the commercial transaction seem quite ludicrous:

“So this is a question now for the audience.  I would like to know how does one go about selling his soul to the devil? Does the devil have a bank account?  Alright. Do you first put an ad in the classifieds?  ‘Soul for sale in good condition’.  Leave a number to call, the devil calls you, and you work out the fine print of it.  He gives you a manager’s cheque for your soul; you go to his bank.  A popular commercial bank, I presume.  How does it go?”

Down-market, tabloid pedigree

I dismissed the selling-of-the-soul explanation and began to explore other possibilities. However generous I tried to be, I just couldn’t come up with a satisfying account of Clovis’ disturbing cartoon. Let’s suppose I’m the ‘patwa doctor.’  What had I done to make the cartoonist conclude that I would solicit the deadly embrace of a blood-sucking vampire?

My inviting a pop icon to speak at the University of the West Indies cannot reasonably be regarded as a death wish.  Universities across the globe do this kind of thing all the time.  Some of them even have departments of popular culture in which our own Jamaican music is taken seriously.

Here’s a good example.  Next month, I’m going to St. Lucia and St. Vincent to do some lecturing for the UWI Open Campus.  In St. Lucia, I’ll be giving the Patricia Charles Memorial Lecture in honour of the former Resident Tutor of the UWI Extra Mural Department who served the country with distinction in the fields of education and the arts.

The topic of that lecture is “Islands beyond Envy:  Liberating Nation Language in the Caribbean.”  In St. Vincent, I’ll be talking about “Pan-African Consciousness in Caribbean Popular Culture.”  ‘Patwah’ and popular culture, the subjects that engage my colleagues in the Eastern Caribbean, are the very issues that have provoked Clovis’ malicious cartoons.

I got a most insightful email from Mrs. Lesley Crane-Mitchell, Outreach Officer for the Open Campus in St. Lucia.  With her permission, I reproduce it here:  “I loved the exchange between yourself and Vybz Kartel on your blog re the skin bleaching issue. Perhaps you could do a related lecture while here.  A provocative title including the name Vybz Kartel would go down well with young people.  We need to raise UWI’s profile within the schools.  It might be good for them to see that UWI lecturers can also be “cool” – or is that phrase no longer in vogue?J”

Mrs. Crane-Mitchell knows how quickly ‘hip’ terms go out of style.  She also quite perceptively recognises the fact that the profile of the University can, indeed, be raised by engagement with popular culture.  At least for young people.  On this score, the Open Campus is streets and lanes ahead of the seemingly Closed Campus at Mona.

There, Clovis’ three derisive cartoons on Kartel’s lecture have, apparently, elicited complete embarrassment at the unwelcome attention.  The administration doesn’t seem to realise that the campus could ‘get a forward’ from association with the DJ, as Kartel himself might put it.  An unprecedented audience of over 5,000 came to hear the lecture.   I don’t think the powers-that-be even begin to understand what that means.

And as for that dismissive patwah docta’ label!  Clovis does not seem to know that Creole linguistics is a perfectly respectable academic discipline.  I might even have become a ‘bonafide patwa dakta’ if I’d been aware of linguistics as an option when I first went to university.  As it turns out, my Ph.D. is in English literature and I teach the subject for a living.  I also ‘hug up’ my mother tongue, Jamaican.

And why is Kartel pictured as a vampire?  His misapplied ‘cake soap’ may be far less deadly than other chemical products many of us routinely use.  Having tried in vain to find a rational explanation for the vicious, blood-sucking cartoon, I’ve concluded that ‘Clovis head tek im.’

Quite frankly, I really don’t care if the cartoonist decides to put me in a nappy and reduce me to a crybaby – or whatever other infantile ‘diss’ he may conceive.  That’s a small price to pay for speaking out against the way in which the Observer seems to be revelling in its down-market, tabloid pedigree.

In the 1990s, I used to write a column for that newspaper.  In those early years, the Observer aspired to be a quality broad sheet, in spite of its tabloid format.  These days, the pretension of professionalism appears to have vanished, particularly in the editorial cartoon.  Now it’s all about cheap laughs.

And Vybz Kartel has bitten back. It had to happen. There’s a wicked cartoon on the Internet, attributed to Kartel. Clovis stands on the sidewalk wearing a tee shirt that reads, “Bruk Pocket Hungry Belly Badmind Clovis.”        Sobbing, he confesses, “That’s why me envy Kartel so much you know.  He getting all the money and the girls while I’m in a boring underpaid overworked job.  Nobody knows me or cares who I am while he gets all the fame and money.  Even my mom an me auntie an all of me female cousin dem gone with him . . . .”  Kartel cruises past in his Benz with all of Clovis’ beloved female relatives.

I suppose all is fair in the cartoon wars.  But the truth is that Clovis Brown is well-known.  And even if he hasn’t quite sold his soul to the devil, he does make a good living.  It’s just a pity that his take on life is sometimes so vampirish.


Wen mi si di kyaatuun iina laas Monde Jamaica Observer, it kom tu mi se Clovis Brown mosi sel im suol tu di devl don, don, don.  No riil-riil sel; bot suo tu spiik.  Mi naa no evidens se Brown baas a no devl.  Aafta raal, Butch Stewart a wan a di tap-a-tap big man dem wa a ron tingz iina Jamieka.  Yu no ha fi aks if im de pan a levl.  Chruu, im ha fi sel nyuuspiepa.  Bot dat no miin se im naa no prinsipl.

Yu si di kyaatuun dem iina nyuuspiepa, di wan dem we dairekli shuo wa di edita a di piepa a difen;  a lang taim nou dem de bout.  An a siiryos bizniz.  Fi som piipl a wan rispektibl jab fi jraa kyaatuun.  Bot yu si Clovis.  It luk laik se im naa juk pan prinsipl.  Fi im juok dem a go rait dong iina di gota.

Tek piipl mek papishuo fi gud riizn a wan ting.  Bot wen yu a go kyari dem dong siek a dem blak an dem a uman an dem no kum aafa no ai tiebl, dat a wan neks ting.   Mi no nuo wen mi uda eva figat di bad briid wie Clovis did angl di so-kaal ‘anarebl’ Praim Minista, Mrs. Portia

Simpson Miller, iina di laas jineral ilekshan kyampien.

It luk laik Clovis lov kyari dong uman.  Unu si laas Monde kyaatuun.  It sik mi stomok.  Si ou im set it op.  An it ruud yu si!  Yunnivorsiti a di Wes Indiiz op a Muona a wan kafn.  An di kafn opn.  ‘Prof’ Vybz Kartel im a git op outa fi kafn.  Im dis a kin im tiit laka wan vampaiya a luk blod.  An di ‘patwah dockta’’ – a so Clovis spel i  – a inviigl di vampaiya fi bait ar. Nobadi niem no kaal so yu ha fi ges a uu dat.

Yu si di mechiz!  Morda.  An slaknis:  yu nuo dem av som wikid piipl we lov seks ded sombadi.  A it dat.  Yu no ha fi a go roun an kom roun fi si wa di kyaatuun a se.  It rait de so, big an brait.  UWI a wan ded yaad.  An fi wi Jamieka myuusik ina dem ya taim a nai-nait Sangki.  An fram yu a tek di myuuzik an di langgwij a di masiv  siiryos – fi stodi a yuunivorsiti – dat a dairek det sentens.

Stil far aal, mi a chrai si if a dat Clovis a se fi chruu.  A kudn dat.  Mi se, im no sel im suol.  It bilangs tu im.  Mi se a no suoso moni im a wok fa.  Im a aatis.  An im a jraa kyaatuun chruu im lov fi jraa. An paraps, a palitiks im a difen.

Aal di siem, Professor Kartel don shuo wi iina im lekcha – we im gi op a Muona an we gaan aal uova (siek a di Intanet) – im mek juok an shuo wi se it no mek no sens fi a taak bout sel suol tu di devl.  Wen yu tink bout aal a di likl inz an outs fi du di selin, it kaina soun fuul-fuul:

“So dis a wan kweschan fi unu.  Mi waan nuo ou yu uda sel yu suol tu di devl.  Di devl av bank buk?  Aarait.  Ou yu dwiit.  Fos tu bigin wid:  yu tek out wan ad iina Gliina.  ‘Wan gud-gud suol a sel.’  Yu liiv yu nomba an di devl kaal yu an unu sekl op di ting.  An im gi yu wan bank chek fi yu suol.  An yu go a fi im bank.  Mosi wan a di papila komorshal bank dem, ii?  A ou it go?

Wan skyndal nyuuzpiepa

So mi se ‘naa.’  Clovis no sel im suol.  So mi staat aks miself a wa mek im dwiit.  Mi chrai mi bes fi si wid im.  Bot mi jos no andastan wa mek Clovis jraa dat de bad-main kyaatuun.  Aarait.  So if a mi a di ‘patwah docta’’, a wa mi du mek Clovis disaid im main se mi a go beg vampaiya fi kom bait mi, kil mi ded?

A kudn chruu mi invait wan big taim DJ fi taak a Yuunirositi mek Clovis tink se mi waan ded.  Yuunivorsiti aal uova di worl invait aatis fi taak.  Som a dem aal av dipaatment we dem stodi tide kolcha an tek fi wi Jamieka myuuzik siiryos.

Tek far instans.  Neks month, mi a go dong a St. Lucia an St. Vincent fi du kopl lekcha fi di UWI Uopn Kyampos.  Iina St. Lucia, mi a go gi wan lekcha fi memba Mrs. Patricia Charles.  Shi did in chaaj a di UWI dipaatment iina St. Lucia we put aan kuours outsaid di waal a di 3 big kyampos a Jamieka, Baabiedoz an Chrinidad an Tubiego.  Mrs Charles du plenti gud wok iina edikieshan an di aats an a it mek Yuunivorsiti a ana ar wid fi ar uona lekcha.

Mi a go taak bout “Islands beyond Envy:  Liberating Nation Language in the Caribbean” (Wi no ha fi groj nobadi:  Wi gat fi wi uona langgwij).    Iina St. Vincent, mi a go taak bout “Pan-African Consciousness in Caribbean Popular Culture” (Afrika de iina wi kolcha).  Siit de:  ‘patwah’ an tide kolcha a wa di yuunivorsiti piipl dem iina dem oda ailan waan ier bout.  Di sed siem ting we mek Clovis a jraa im bad briid kyaatuun dem ya so.

Mi get wan sensibl iimiel fram Mrs. Lesley Crane-Mitchell.  Shi a di afisa we rispans fi riich out tu piipl mek dem kom a di Uopn Kyampos iina St. Lucia.  Shi gi mi pormishan fi shuo unu we shi rait:  “Mi lov di ping pong wid yuu an Kartel pan yu blog bout bliichin.  Paraps yu kuda du wan lekcha bout dat wen yu kom.  Wan tapik wid Kartel niem uda kech di yuut dem.  Wi ha fi big op UWI ina di skuul dem.  Mek di styuudent dem nuo se di lekchara dem a UWI nuo wa a gwaan out a ruod.  Dem kuul.  Dat wod stil in stail?J”

5,000 piipl kom fi ier Kartel

Mrs. Crane-Mitchell don nuo se slang chienj op kwik kwik.  An shi nuo se Yuunivorsiti kyan get rietingz if dem uopn dem duor an tek iin schriit kolcha.  Di yuut dem wi gi dem rispek.  It luk laik di Uopn Kyampos wie paas di ‘Lak Dong’ Kyampos a Muona wen it kom aan tu dis bizniz.

Op a Muona, it luk laik Yuunivorsiti imbaras kyaan don chruu Clovis jraa im chrii sowa kyaatuun a tek di kyampos mek papishuo. Di tapanaaris de so no nuo se dem kuda get a faawad (az Kartel uda se) fi bring di DJ fi lekcha.  A 5000 piipl kom fi ier Kartel!  So moch piipl neva kom wan taim tu notn a Yuunivorsiti.  Mi no tink di tap-a-tap staat fi andastan wa dat miin.

An az fi di pap-doun ‘patwah docta’’ fuulishnis!  It luk laik Clovis no nuo se piipl a stodi patwa langgwij iina yuunivorsiti lang taim.  Siiryos ting.  If mi did nuo bout langgwij saiyans wen mi did go a yuunivorsiti, mi maita bi wan bonafaid patwa dakta nou.  Mi neva nuo.  So a Ingglish lichricha mi du mi Ph.D. iina.  A it mi tiich nou.  An mi og op fi mi haat langgwij, Jamiekan.

Den a wa mek Clovis ton Kartel iina wan vampaiya?  Im kieksuop, we som piipl naa yuuz ou it supuoz fi yuuz – fi wash kluoz – maita no moch wosa dan plenti a di chemikal dem we som a wi a yuuz die iin, die out.  Eniou, sins mi kudn fain no gud riizn fi di bad-main, vampaiya kyaatuun, it kom tu mi se Clovis ed dis tek im.

An tel yu di chruut, mi no kya if Clovis put mi iina napi an chrai ton mi iina krai-krai biebi, muunshain daalin.  Ar wateva ada lilkl fuul-fuul dis im kom op wid.  Dat a no notn.  Mi ha fi taak out bout ou Observer dis a gwaan laik wan likl nyuuspiepa.  A so di piepa likl, a so  . . . .

Iina di 1990z, mi did rait kalam fi dat de nyuuspiepa.  Dem taim, doa di piepa likl bit, dem did a gwaan laik se dem big an dem braad.  Ina dem ya taim, it luk laik dat de spirit gaan.  Az fi di kyaatuun dem pan di edita piej.  Dem dis a juok it out.

An Vybz Kartel bait bak.  Bot mos.  Yu waan si di wikid kyaatuun pan di Intanet, we Kartel supuozn di jraa. Clovis stan op pan di saidwaak a wier wan tii shot we se, “Bruk Pocket Hungry Belly Badmind Clovis.”        Im a baal an im admit se, “That’s why me envy Kartel so much you know.  He getting all the money and the girls while I’m in a boring underpaid overworked job.  Nobody knows me or cares who I am while he gets all the fame and money.  Even my mom an me auntie an all of me female cousin dem gone with him . . . .”  Kartel kruuz paas iina im Benz wid di uol a Clovis’ fiimiel fambili.

Kyaatuunis Las May, lef, an Clovis win awaad

Wel, di naif we stik shiip stik guot.  A so di kyaatuun klash go.  Stil far aal, Clovis Brown is wel binuons.  An ifn ef im no sel im suol tu di devl fi chruu, im naa sofa.  Im a liv gud. Bwai, iz a piti im kyaatuun dem jraa blod somtaim mek im kom iin laik wan vampaiya.