Junjo Inna Di Judge Dem Wig?

Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.

CHAKA-CHAKA-SPELLING

Mi nearly dead wid laugh wen mi read wa Fieldgar post pon Gleaner website bout mi column, “Hair Policy Infested With Racism.” It did come out pon August 2:   “Is it possible that those wigs that the legislators wear could also be infected with ‘junjo.’ This matter might need closer inspection.” So mi inspek.  Not di wig dem; di matter!

First ting: no judge an no lawyer nah wear no wig inna dem ya time wen dem go a court inna Jamaica.  Dat done.  Well, some a di woman dem might a wear weave; an some a di man dem might a put on hairpiece fi cover dem bald head.  A di lawyer wig mi a talk bout.  A two kind a wig.  One long an one short. Dem no cheap. One a mi fren dem tell mi seh fi har short wig did cost $200,000.00.  Dat a fi di wig, di box fi keep it inna an di stamp fi sen it from England.  Govament pay part a di money.  Oonoo see how govament did a waste wi tax money pon foolishness!

So hear wa mi find out bout wig an lice.  Di Stuff of Success website post one article, “The Foremost Reasons Behind the Wearing of Wigs in Court”.  It seh, “In the 17th century, there was an epidemic of head lice all throughout Europe, particularly in France and England. Because of this, people tended to shave their head or used a thickly woven mat atop the head to prevent lice from infesting their heads. At the same time, wigs were introduced to cover baldness of those who shaved their heads”. An a no ongle lice did mek white people wear wig.  Syphilis did nyam off dem hair too.  Di follow-fashion lawyer an judge dem inna England tek up wig because it mek dem feel official.

“INDEPENDENT OF WHAT?”

A ongle two class a people a wear wig inna Jamaica today:  di Speaker of the House an dem deh lawyer weh turn Queen’s Counsel (QC).  Wen parliament a open fi di fos time fi di year, di Speaker supposen fi wear wig. Pearnel Charles im love di wig so much, im wear it inna parliament all di time.  Dem laugh after im, but im no mek dat bodder im. 

CARTOON OF PEARNEL CHARLES

Inna one newspaper article weh come out inna 2016, H.G. Helps report wa Charles seh bout di wig:  “I have no feeling that if I take off the wig and gown I will be less neo-colonial. People say we are independent, but independent of what? The Queen is Jamaica’s Head of State, so we are no different from what happens in London. So as long as the Queen is head of Jamaica’s Parliament, we are her subjects.”

Di ongle time di QC dem wear wig a wen dem go a Supreme Court fi answer di call to di “Inner Bar”.  Dat a no no rum shop.  Di QC dem step up inna life an dem fi ‘counsel’ Missis Queen.  Di way me seet, di ongle advice di QC dem fi gi Missis Queen a fi tek weh harself an har governor-general so Pearnel can tek off im wig.  

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

Mi nierli ded wid laaf wen mi riid wa Fieldgar puos pon Gleaner websait bout mi kalam, “Hair Policy Infested With Racism.”.It did kom out pon Aagos 2:   “Is it possible that those wigs that the legislators wear could also be infected with ‘junjo.’ This matter might need closer inspection.” So mi inspek.  Nat di wig dem; di mata!

Fos ting: no joj an no laaya naa wier no wig ina dem ya taim wen dem go a kuort ina Jamieka.  Dat don.  Wel, som a di uman dem maita wier wiiv; an som a di man dem maita put aan ierpiis fi kova dem baal ed.  A di laaya wig mi a taak bout.  A tuu kain a wig.  Wan lang an wan shaat. Dem no chiip. Wan a mi fren dem tel mi se fi ar shaat wig did kaas $200,000.00.  Dat a fi di wig, di baks fi kip it ina an di stamp fi sen it fram Ingglan.  Govament pie paat a di moni.  Unu si ou govament dida wies wi taks moni pon fuulishnis.

HEAD LICE

So ier wa mi fain out bout wig an lais.   Di Stuff of Success websait puos wan aatilkl, “The Foremost Reasons Behind the Wearing of Wigs in Court”. It se, “In the 17th century, there was an epidemic of head lice all throughout Europe, particularly in France and England. Because of this, people tended to shave their head or used a thickly woven mat atop the head to prevent lice from infesting their heads. At the same time, wigs were introduced to cover baldness of those who shaved their heads.” An a no ongl lais did mek wait piipl wier wig.  Sifilis did nyam aaf dem ier tu.  Di fala-fashin laaya an joj dem ina Ingglan tek op wig bikaa it mek dem fiil ofishal.

“INDEPENDENT OF WHAT?”

A ongl tuu klaas a piipl a wier wig ina Jamieka tide:  di Speaker of the House an dem de laaya we ton Queen’s Counsel (QC).  Wen paaliment a opn fi di fos taim fi di ier, di Speaker sopuozn fi wier wig. Pearnel Charles im lov di wig so moch, im wier it ina paaliment aal di taim.  Dem laaf aafta im, bot im no mek dat bada im. 

QUEEN ELIZABETH II

Ina wan nyuuzpiepa aatilkl we kom out ina 2016, H.G. Helps ripuort wa Charles se bout di wig:  “I have no feeling that if I take off the wig and gown I will be less neo-colonial. People say we are independent, but independent of what? The Queen is Jamaica’s Head of State, so we are no different from what happens in London. So as long as the Queen is head of Jamaica’s Parliament, we are her subjects.”

Di ongl taim di QC dem wier wig a wen dem go a Supreme Court fi ansa di kaal tu di “Inner Bar”.  Dat a no no rom shap.  Di QC dem step op ina laif an dem fi ‘counsel’ Misiz Kwiin.  Di wie mii siit, di ongl advais di QC dem fi gi Misiz Kwiin a fi tek we arself an ar govana-jineral so Pearnel kyan tek aaf im wig. 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Fungus In the Judges’ Wigs?

I almost died of laughter when I read Fieldgar’s post on the Gleaner’s website in response to my column, “Hair Policy Infested With Racism,” published on August 2:   “Is it possible that those wigs that the legislators wear could also be infected with ‘junjo.’ This matter might need closer inspection.” So I inspected.  Not the wigs; the matter!

First of all: no judge or lawyer wears a wig these days in Jamaican courts.  That’s a thing of the past.  Well, some women might wear weaves; and some men might put on a hairpiece to hide their baldness.  It’s the wigs for lawyers, I mean. There are two kinds, long and short. And they’re not cheap. One of my friends told me that her short wig cost $200,000.00.  That’s for the wig, the case and postage from England.  The government paid part of the cost.  You see how the government used to foolishly waste our taxes!

So here’s what I discovered about wigs and lice.  The Stuff of Success website posted an article, “The Foremost Reasons Behind the Wearing of Wigs in Court,” which reported that, “In the 17th century, there was an epidemic of head lice all throughout Europe, particularly in France and England. Because of this, people tended to shave their head or used a thickly woven mat atop the head to prevent lice from infesting their heads. At the same time, wigs were introduced to cover baldness of those who shaved their heads.” And it’s not only lice that made Europeans wear wigs.  Syphilis caused hair loss. The follow-fashion lawyers and judges in England adopted the wig because it gave them a sense of authority.

“INDEPENDENT OF WHAT?”

There are only two categories of people who wear wigs in Jamaica today:  the Speaker of the House and those lawyers who become Queen’s Counsels (QC).  When parliament has its official opening each year, the Speaker is supposed to wear the wig. Pearnel Charles loves the wig so much he wears it in parliament all the time.  He’s mocked about it, but that doesn’t bother him. 

In a newspaper article published in 2016, H.G. Helps reports Charles’ position on the wig:  “I have no feeling that if I take off the wig and gown I will be less neo-colonial. People say we are independent, but independent of what? The Queen is Jamaica’s Head of State, so we are no different from what happens in London. So as long as the Queen is head of Jamaica’s Parliament, we are her subjects.”

SIR PATRICK ALLEN, GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF JAMAICA

The only time the QCs wear a wig is when they go to the Supreme Court to answer the call to the “Inner Bar.”  That’s most certainly not a rum shop.  QCs advance professionally and are supposed to give ‘counsel’ to Her Majesty the Queen.  The way I see it, the only advice the QCs should give Her Majesty is to withdraw, along with the governor-general, so that Pearnel can take off his wig. 

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