IRONICALLY, Emancipation Day in Union Island was usually celebrated with everyone expecting to be charged with various offences leading to the certain punishment of fines.
There was no judge as serious as her Lordship. She weighs the evidence presented to her fairly, and convicts everyone coming before her without fear or favour. The evidence presented by the prosecutor is usually incontrovertible. The defense counsel would hardly muster a plausible defense as the members of the jury are made aware of the full evidence in the case.
Those brought to court were usually escorted by a squad of marching Women Police with whistles and batons. A typical charge for local residences might be failure to finish the “first grass,” referring to the removal of weeds from germinating cornfields. Some who were exonerated on this charge would subsequently be charged with failure to help those who had not finished their “first grass.” In any case the defendant must be found guilty of some sort of infringement.
Unsuspecting tourists may be charged for enjoying the beach at our expense or failure to visit the island often enough.
Once convicted the judge imposes a fine based on how much she thinks the convict is willing to pay. Those who have no money must be given bail after a sum is paid by someone else.
By the end of the day, the Women’s League of Union Island would return the clothes they borrowed from the police and would have raised some funds for the important community work they do. All in all, the day would have been quite enjoyable. Over the years we would have had a distinguished and reputable force to reckon with among the Women’s League. These include Lennie (Dema) Joseph, Adina Regis, Ruthvin Alexander, Irene Wilson, Sharon Mulzac, Masani DeFreitas, Norma Thomas, Eurena Noel, and Ce Margin (Polly).
Anthony Stewart, PhD