I signalled that I would consult teachers (not students) of Literature to see if they could find the hidden message. I had given them until 12:30 pm on Friday September 14 to report back to me, and I was apprehensively looking forward to hear what they would come up with.
I had wondered what messages Mr Herbert was trying to pass on each morning when in his preaching he would talk of people suffering because he termed them as oppressors, and mostly capping it up with the song Coward of the County.
As fate would have it, the answer did not come from teachers of Literature and even as much I got it on Friday September 14, I did not have to wait until midday. The answer came at 6:34 am and from none other than Mr Evered ‘Webbo’ Herbert.
“And I have got a message coming up,” said Mr Herbert. “You know there is a fellow who a long time ago was a radio announcer and his mantra was the message is in the music. But before we do that, specially, for the folks who missed it, we did today the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3.
“We only did the first ten verses, but of course if you got a little more time, you can do a little bit more.
“Verse 1: To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. “Reading on; A time to be born and a time to die.
“A time to plant and a time to pluck up that is planted.
“A time to kill and a time to heal.
“A time to break down and a time to build up.
“At time to weep and a time to laugh.
“A time to mourn and a time to dance.
“And now this — the time for the message; from this music.”
He then played the song, Coward of the County.
Now that is a chilling message. Remember very well the explanation he had given of the very song. Tommy (Coward of the County) had always turned away from trouble, as his father would have commanded him. But when the Gatling boys messed up with his Becky, he did not turn away but rather made them have it, so hard it was that none was left standing (they might have been dead).
Some of Webbo’s messages are certainly not inspiring as the title of the programme suggests. And for him to come out with such a bold statement, is he not sending out messages that are meant to instil fear in some sections of our society?
The radio is a tool that is meant to educate and entertain, but some folks have used it to their advantage, and to intimidate others. According to UNESCO, radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognised as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium.
It is important to know that a native of St. Kitts and Nevis, and who has roots in Nevis, Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, a former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is the one who highlighted the media case which has identified the principles governing media responsibility in International Criminal Law.
A trial against ‘hate media’ had begun on 23 October 2000, at the International Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha Tanzania, and it was charged with the prosecution of the media which encouraged the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda
On 19 August 2003, at the tribunal in Arusha, life sentences were requested for Ferdinand Nahimana, and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, persons in charge for the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, as well as Hassan Ngeze, director and editor of the Kangura newspaper.
They were charged with genocide, incitement to genocide, and crimes against humanity, before and during the period of the genocides of 1994. On 3 December 2003, the court found all three defendants guilty and sentenced Nahimana and Ngeze to life imprisonment and Barayagwiza to imprisonment for 35 years.
Messages coming out of VON radio’s Morning Inspiration programme and others that I highlighted last week have been coming when the CCM is all over the place saying that there is tension in the country.
The CCM’s website, Nevis Politics, even carried a much more chilling message on Tuesday September 4, when one writing under the moniker Elita said (and the administrator did not see anything wrong with it and allowed the message to appear):
“Charles Wilkin, Q.C. made some very irresponsible statements today. And if there is any spilling of blood on the streets of Nevis then he Charles Wilkin must take full responsibility.”
Poor Charles Wilkin had only made a statement of fact, when he said that the loss of one seat did not mean the fall of a government. He further stated that even if Mark Brantley were to win the by-election, the Hon Joseph Parry would still be the Premier until such time as he would either resign or a motion of no confidence is passed on his government.
The opposition Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), has been warning that there is tension in Nevis and that its supporters are not ready to stand idly as they wait for the Premier of Nevis, the Hon Joseph Parry to make a decision following a Court of Appeal ruling on the St. John’s seat election petition, where the Constitution gives him up to 90 days.
The Hon Mark Brantley, the man in the centre of the storm, called to the Let’s Talk Programme (on VON) on Tuesday September 4, and said that people were frustrated and fed up and was calling on the Governor General to exercise “his authority to prevent chaos, prevent confusion and restore some normalcy to the country and I do not think the head of state will sit back and allow this to play off.”
Mark Brantley is on record to have reminded all and sundry of what happened in 1993, yet at the same time he is calling on His Excellency the Governor General to take action. What makes him think that the GG is not listening? Do they want the GG to act out of fear?
The same blanket message (about tension in Nevis) had been peddled by the party leader the Hon Vance Amory at a press conference that they would have held that same morning at the Red Cross Building in Charlestown.
Their assertion that there is tension in Nevis was thrown out the window by Father Alrick Francis who lives on Nevis. While hosting the Inside the News Programme on WINN FM in St. Kitts on Saturday September 8, he was asked by Mr Alistair Yearwood of the Nevis Reformation Party if there was tension in Nevis and his reply was:
“I will be very honest. I do not feel that there is any tension as I am hearing some people saying. Maybe people are thinking and feeling things that whom, but based on this, what I have seen in Nevis is that people are hyped mostly by the politicians, whichever side, rather than persons who are the ordinary persons who are looking forward to an end to the situation.”
A former Chairman of the CCM Party, and lawyer Mr Ted Hobson, on Let’s Talk on September 4, accused the church of sitting down and doing nothing other than Pastor Eric Maynard and warned “CCM people are not going to stand by and see these things going through and do nothing about it.”
A CCM sympathiser and panellist on the Let’s Talk Programme on VON, Mr Edric Stanley said on the same programme: “Let them know that we all are watching and we all are sending out our warning based on statements that we are hearing with reference to what kind of election, the length of time and whether or not they have the right to continue to govern.”
The biggest problem the CCM and Webbo have is the interpretation of the Constitution as to what would have happened after the Court of Appeal handed down its decision. There is more than one interpretation but they are insisting on one, which really does not involve a sitting government.
What is evident is that the CCM is mortally afraid of an island wide election for which Premier Parry has the constitutional authority to call.
A caller, who did not identify himself, but one who sounded like former Labour Government minister, Mr Dwyer Astaphan who is a lawyer by profession, called to VON on the Let’s Talk programme on September 4, and gave all the possible scenarios open to Nevis.
They all listened to him attentively until he said: “Perhaps the best way to go right now is a general election, perhaps. But all I see happening here is potential legal challenges which will take more time and money and frustration and anger mounting in the country, and.. (he was interrupted by the host).”
His call lasted over 20 minutes, and he was opposed and interrupted by the host, Mr Herbert all the way through. Was this caller rudely interrupted because he (Herbert) wanted to hear what he wanted to hear but not what the Constitution offers as the caller was putting it?
The caller summed up by saying: “Mr Parry is in a position to prevent all of these from happening and perhaps the best way to go is to ask the Governor General to null the Nevis Island Assembly and go to the people of Nevis in a clean and fair election.”
The next caller who was of the same view that the Premier has the constitutional authority to call the elections was rudely interrupted several times by Webbo. However the one who followed that one, but one who said that Premier did not have the authority to call the elections was left to talk uninterrupted for a full three minutes and 18 seconds. Webbo just told him, “okay” at the end.
Their desperation was further manifested when on Tuesday September 4 the CCM held a press conference where its elected member for St. James, the Hon Alexis Jeffers, gave it a skip. So worried were they that they engaged in the absurd.
That they were trying to talk to the area representative for St. Paul’s the Hon Robelto Hector of the Nevis Reformation Party to cross the floor and join with them. Both the leader Hon Vance Amory and his deputy Hon Mark Brantley warmed up to the suggestion.
That is the only way they think that they can win a general election on Nevis, and will therefore do everything within their thinking capacities to avoid a general election even if it means talking gibberish in the name of a press conference. Desperation knows no boundaries.