Motives and role models : Minister Phillip Paulwell and Lee Boyd Malvo

Images-9 Lee Malvo

Lee Boyd Malvo gave testimony today in another trial on his participation in the sniper killings in the Washington region in October 2002. Searching his testimony, and the testimony of those attending the trial, left me still wondering if there is some motive for his actions that has not yet been revealed.

Images-1-3 Minister Phillip Paulwell

Yesterday, the Cabinet of Portia Simpson Miller was similarly engaged in trying to thrash out the motive for Minister Phillip Paulwell's refusal to use the brains that God evidently gave him…..His spectacular failures as a Minister are balanced by his intuitive understanding of the local political scene (almost alone among his peers he supported the winner in the 1992 AND the 2006 PNP Presidential elections), and by the apparent lack of consequences of his most horrible mistakes…..

Despite the Intech Fund debacle, we do in fact have a thriving and competitive telecommunications sector (witness Digicel, Flow, and a finally-awake Cable and Wireless) and a thriving call centre business (Patrick Casserly et al carrying the flag and making lots of money and jobs).

Despite the cement debacle, it seems likely that, in fact, all our stadiums and villas will be ready in time for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

But what could be Phillip Paulwell's motive for repeated cupidity/stupidity? If we are to credit him with the brains he evidently needed to get through law school and become a successful young politician, then we have to think that he simply waits for one of the contending parties to offer him a huge amount of money to decide in their favour, and it is this approach which has produced embarrassing, but possibly very lucrative (for him) policy failures……

"Sniper Trading: Essential Short-Term Money-Making Secrets for Trading Stocks, Options and Futures" (George Angell, George Angell)

On the other hand, if we agree he is just plain stupid, then what ? If the Prime Minister is going to start firing people because they are stupid, who on the back benches will survive to run in the next election ? Which Cabinet Ministers could survive scrutiny for signs of idiocy ?

Is Paulwell spectacularly stupid or just spectacularly corrupt ? I'm inclined to go with spectacularly corrupt. Paulwell was an early supporter of PJ Patterson, who came into the Prime Minister's office swamped by scandal (Shell waiver, Luana, etcetera, etcetera). I'm assuming that Paulwell has just taken PJ Patterson as his role model, and fully expect that he will be first in line to lead the PNP when Portia gets ready to retire…..

As for Lee Boyd Malvo, he wants us to think that he's a not-too-bright, fatherless kid who was taken down an evil path by the wrong role model – a crazy, murderous older man. I dunno. He claims to have known it was wrong to be shooting pregnant women and children on the basis that they were in a rich, white neighbourhood, yet he went along with it……. And one imagines that Malvo's current testimony is driven by his hopes to get out of jail at some point in the future, after "mad" and "coward" Muhammad is safely 6 feet under.

"Three Weeks in October : The Hunt for the Washington Sniper" (Charles A. Moose, Charles Fleming)

If Malvo was female, it would occur to me that he was simply afraid of being killed by Muhammad and went along for that reason. Unfortunately boy children who can use a gun, as Lee Boyd evidently could, are suspected of having no problem killing a father/authority figure, if that's what they want to do…

While we can safely leave Malvo to the U.S. justice system, we cannot ignore what is being put forward as his "motive" – I'm just a poor, mixed up kid with no dad around….

While this might suit the prejudices of some Americans, let us hope that in Jamaica we will continue to insist that having no dad is no excuse for murder. Because if we don't, God help us. Or rather, God won't help us….

And sometime soon (perhaps before the ascension of Minister Paulwell to the Prime Minister ship) we should get around to insisting that wanting money is no excuse for stealing it from the taxpayers…..

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[posted with ecto]

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