By Rawlston Pompey
Not sure where exactly in the ‘Dickens or Heaven’s’ this is to be found, but somewhere in the Holy Bible, the Scripture sets a ‘…Golden Rule’ that unambiguously states, ’…God bless the child that has his own.’ There was often rivalry among those whose names may or may not be recorded in a Will. What is also well known in a family setting, is that where there is jealousy or a fortune is left, there will always be man’s nature to ‘…Tiff and Fight’ and grab as much from siblings. Even so, few people may have bad reasons to harbor fear in their hearts or to perpetrate evil, if good is done or inheritances were evenly distributed. Biblically, these have been the experiences of two biblical characters, ‘…Brothers Cain and Abel’ [Genesis 4: 8]. It has clearly been the experiences of ‘…siblings Calvin ‘Burga’ James 53 and Ineta Liburd 55.’ This may have been evidenced by ‘…acts of violence and blood-shed.’
This commentary revisits and reflects on the unfolding painful tragic events that had shocked the nation into dismay, while at the same time comprehensively looks at the intriguing developments surrounding ‘…self-convicted double-murder accused’ recent Court appearance. Conversing with ‘Burga’ within a stone’s throw of the St. John’s Police Station, it became obvious that he was under severe personal stress. He may have been tormented by something and eventually revealed what it was. With passion and conviction,’ he said, ‘…If I had a gun, I would have wiped out all of them’ . Invariably, there is the institution of civil proceedings against family members seen as selfish and vexingly avaricious.
BURGA’S WAY – BURGA’S DAY
Despised by his ‘…Sister Ineta Liburd,’ and in agonizing variance, it was going to be ‘…Burga’s Way and Burga’s Day. Whatever ‘…Burga and Ineta’ may have eaten, it appeared not to have been picked from the ‘…Tree of Good.’ Sensing ultimate violence, he was quietly advised to engage in private consultations with long time confidante and well-known practicing attorney, ‘…Justin L. Simon QC.’ Then holding the office of Attorney General, he was well-positioned to guide him through his personal difficulties. Thus, he was considered as a person with the temperament and capacity to exert some influence upon him. Additionally, personal contact was made with a particular senior investigator at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), in whom he had also reposed confidence.
HEATED TIFFS – VICIOUS FIGHTS
As obtains in most global societies, people are well known to have orchestrated acts that have caused the miseries of others. Invariably, they too have fallen victims to such orchestration. It is also known that when a man dies and leaves a legacy, the world applauds him for it. Conversely, when a parent dies and leaves a fortune, there are often jostling by surviving siblings to possess it. In close-knit or in the best regulated families, there is no getting away from family feuds. According to renowned social commentator Slinger Francisco, ‘Mighty Sparrow,’ ‘…Not like those that pay the Doctor Bill, to make sure that their names come out in the Will’ [A Mother’s Love:1992].In engaging in avaricious grabbing, many family members have not only caused fractious relations with siblings, but also incurred the wrath of those they have deprived. Those who were seen as disproportionately grabbing too much, with ‘…Heated Tiffs and Vicious Fights’ precipitating into violence, there are usually three unmistaken outcomes; (i) …Hospital emergencies; (ii) …Criminal proceedings; and (iii) …Funerals.’ These, undoubtedly, characterized the experiences of ‘…double-murder self-convict convict …Calvin ‘Burga’ James 53.’
From professional experience, something was brewing and it certainly was not coffee. The inevitable was about to occur, if only ‘Burga’ could put his hand on a Firearm. The possibility of violence was not only real, but also imminent. Not only was the adamant and intolerable ‘Burga’ discouraged from exacting violence on members of his family, but also warned of ‘…Foreseeable Consequences’ for acts that were not in keeping with civility, but also acts of, or bordering criminality. Consequently, he was referred to a senior law enforcement officer at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
FIRE AND VENGEANCE
With clear pre-meditation, an apparent incensed ‘Burga,’ seemingly driven by pent-up feelings was to be as deadly as the firearm, a ‘.38 Special pistol and ammunition’ would allow. Grief descended upon a family, leaving some family members to mourn. In the previous cutlass attack, his ‘…Sister Ineta Liburd’ had seen ‘…Fire in his eyes’ and ‘…Vengeance in his heart.’ In her heart, there was animosity, yet she was mortally afraid of him. In the second attack on her family, after rapid gunfire was reportedly heard and ceased in the Donovan’s community, ‘…two people were left dead;’ one instantly, the other subsequently. As fortune sometimes has it, a male victim miraculously survived the violent onslaught and escaped to nurse a gunshot injury to the mouth. The wounded was quickly dispatched for urgent surgical attention, while the dead were subsequently buried.
MEMORIES OF DEATH
In the early part of the ‘Year 2010,’ as he voluntarily and angrily, yet privately explained the difficulties he had experienced with his ‘…Sister Ineta,’ Undoubtedly, ‘Burga’ may have been moved by a heart that may have been saturated with vengeance and uncontrollable rage. Transfixed on violence and eventually overwhelmed by uncontrollable rage, with unmeasured violence, ‘Burga’ had released his rage upon his unsuspecting and defenceless family. Having unleashed the early morning wrath, fatally wounding members of his family, terrified members of the community were also forced to take all safety precautions from ‘Burga’s stolen, but blazing gun. Tears could not have drowned out or washed away the sorrow and grief. The grief and pain endured by his family were all shared by a sympathetic nation. Those events have not only left an indelible mark on the mind of his family, but also painful and haunting ‘…Memories of Death.’
MOURNING AND FUNERALS
Intent on eliminating his ‘…Sister Ineta,’ Burga had reportedly possessed overnight a firearm, a .38 pistol. In the instant case, the possession and use of a firearm was not the result of that which has been universally accepted as the proliferation of illegal firearms, but the possession and use of a licensed Firearm. This was reportedly obtained by unlawful means and caused grief to be visited upon his entire family. There was never going to be joy in the morning. When it was over, there were to be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then there would be ‘…Mourning and Funerals.’ That which had been contemplated and achieved, was to be decisively and clinically executed, yet it was to be swift and painless. The second incident had been ‘Burga’s Sister most ‘…Dreadful Attack.’ It had not only sent shock waves throughout the relatively quiet community, but also brought grief to the residents.
Sister Ineta,’ was the ‘…Prize Victim.’ She was pre-destined to die at the hands of her younger sibling, ‘Burga.’ Seemingly by ‘…Divine Guidance,’ she escaped the wrath of her brother. Incidentally, she was absent from home when terror and death visited upon her family. Had she been present, most certainly, the weapon may have been first trained upon her with deadly or devastating consequences. Now, likened to a wild boar in the sight of a Barbudan hunter, ‘Burga’ now stands perched in the prisoner’s dock to be sentenced for ‘…Murder and Wounding and Shooting With Intent to Murder’ [March 13, 2020]. Whether or not, there was ‘…Jail House Repentance’ or ‘…Court House Remorse,’ [DPP Anthony Armstrong], his facial expressions then, suggested that he has resigned himself to an inescapable ‘…Fate of Death or Life Imprisonment.’
METHOD OF EXORCISM
There was information of a long running family feud between ‘…Burga and his Sister Ineta.’ He not only believed that she despised him, but also she had been possessed with the ‘…Spirit of Evil.’ Such spirit shall be quickly exorcized. Thus, he had given clear indications that apart from ‘…Holy Water or Holy Oil,’ come hell or high water, another ‘.Method of Exorcism’ was of absolute necessity. He appeared poised to declare ‘…an unholy war’ on one of his siblings. Burga’s primary target was his ‘…Sister Ineta Liburd.’ Whatever else could move mountain, he was not prepared to kneel and pray. Burga was none of those. To him, those afflicted by strife, needs no prayers. They need only to resolve their disagreements or differences, civilly, peacefully and amicably or unilaterally by the declaration of war. To him praying was for ‘…his Sister Ineta; …God’s Children; …Church-goers; …Worshippers; …Repenting sinners; …Born-again and One-day Christians and …Evildoers.’ And if there was any man who had ‘…shared vows’ with another man named ‘Peata,’ praying was also for the two.
CALL FOR JUSTICE
Forced to endure a shattered life and living in fear and earthly hell, ‘…Ineta Liburd’ has called for justice to be visited upon her violently-disposed, merciless and vengeful brother, Calvin ‘Burga’ James. Conversely, he had been living with frustration and tormenting agony. That which he now knows is that, ‘…No Noose’ would be judicially ordered to be placed around his neck. Thus, ‘Burga’ would be able to sing any number of hymns to comfort his mind while incarcerated. Unlike his elusive run to liberty and subsequent controversial surrender, likened to the hymn ‘…All to Jesus, I Surrender All,’ inescapably trapped by a ‘…preponderance of evidence,’ and seemingly pressured by his conscience, he eventually and unhesitatingly surrendered ‘…All to Justice.’
MISSION TO KILL
Though the ‘…Brother/Sister Disagreements’ had resulted in serious and deadly consequences, the dispute remains unresolved. Even as he has been languishing in prison, a sister still fumes that the worst is still looming. Having allegedly stole a friend’s licensed Firearm, the subsequent unfolding events suggested that ‘Burga’ not only went on the rampage, but also set out on a ‘…Mission to Kill.’ He had caused her ‘…unbearable and excruciating pain, grueling sorrow and immense grief.’ For peace to reign and fear to cease, ‘Burga’ shall be sentenced to hang. A clearly distraught, troubled and timid ‘…Sister Ineta Liburd,’ has unequivocally called for the application of the ‘…Death Penalty’ against her estranged, violent, merciless and vengeful brother. Except ‘…natural causes; …suicide; …misadventure or other …tragic circumstances,’ Burga will not die with a ‘Noose’ around his neck.
PILLARS OF DEATH
When ‘Burga’ became a fugitive from justice and considered and declared ‘…armed and dangerous,’ it was reportedly due to alleged criminal behavior developed in a long running family feud. His ‘…Sister Ineta Liburd’ and her family appeared to have crossed the conciliatory line, bringing them to a point of no return. The center of the feud was said to be ‘…family inheritance.’ The main bone of contention however, had been the contentious erection of ‘…Two Wall Pillars.’ These were said to have effectively denied him access with his pink-colored convertible car to the adjacent property, of which he had lawful occupation. These have implications for ‘co-existence.’ Given the tragic events that unfolded, these are now capable of being called the ‘…Pillars of Death.’
BURGA CUT LOOSE
On the fateful day, the nation was hardly awake when ‘…Burga Cut Loose.’ By the time the reported limited quantity of ammunition was expended, ‘…two females were dead and one male was reportedly left with a serious gunshot injury to the face.’ Before news spread like wildfire and realizing that his liberty was in serious jeopardy, not only had ‘Burga’ went on the run. He disappeared as to have become elusive from Law enforcement. For three months, ‘Burga’ remained on the loose, successfully avoiding contact with persons who may have been encouraged to be the recipient of the ‘…Police offered Reward.’ For three months his ‘…Sister Ineta’ and members of her family were themselves forced into hiding, not only from ‘Burga,’ but from that which he had illegally possessed- ‘…emitting noise, smoke and bullets.’ Not knowing when he would strike again, they were all living in tenterhooks.
Even the ‘…Incentivized Reward of EC$25, 000’ offered to the general public for information leading to his whereabouts and capture, not only appeared negligible in wooing residents to put themselves in harm’s way. Thus, most members of the wider community had carefully avoided the sight of ‘Burga’ and nozzle of that which he had used to snuff out the life of two 20 year-old females; ‘…niece Tahisha Thomas and Sanchezca Charles’ [ANR: October 5, 2018]. A narrow escape by his ‘…nephew Laurence James’ who sustained a bullet injury to his mouth had not only left him seriously wounded, but also reduced his ability to communicate either by signs or writing, and his physiological intake to a diet of fluid or through intravenous feeding.
For many of the residents of the Donovan’s community, they had been awakened by the sound of gunshots. Residents were reportedly jolted into a state of consciousness that the purposeful use of an illegally-possessed firearm, had taken its toll on the lives of members of his family. Thus, the tragic shootings had instantaneously created a climate of fear. Though ‘Burga’ had reduced the membership of his family and residential population by two, he had posed no real danger to the rest of the community. However, with the ‘…spilling of blood’ of members of his own family, only fools would tread where angels fear. Those in the immediate residential vicinity either ran for cover or prudently remained in their respective homes on a ‘…Self-imposed Curfew.’
Accused of committing several violent criminal acts, ‘Burga’s, his apprehension was not only necessary in bringing him swiftly to justice, but also to allay the fears of both his ‘…Sister Ineta’ and the rest of the citizenry. How and by whom the elusive fugitive was captured had no significant evidential value, particularly to the ensuing criminal proceedings. Even so, his apprehension remains shrouded in secrecy and controversy. When the double-murder accused appeared at the Bar at the High Court of Justice, he not only pleaded guilty to ‘…Murdering two people,’ but also ‘…Attempted to murder three others.’ He had effectively short-circuited and avoided full trial by Jury. In his personal appearance, he sported a clean-shaven face and head, and as has always been his ‘…Public Appearance,’ he was immaculately attired in a well-laundered linen suit [February 24, 2020].
KINGS – VENGEANCE AND JUSTICE
Burga, was’ ‘…King of Vengeance.’ His Lordship, Justice Iain Morley was the ‘…King of Justice.’ Even as his title suggests, it was ‘Burga’ who had something to worry about. He was in the wrong Kingdom and was subject to his Lordship and subjected to the ‘…Rules of the Court.’ Even so, the latter accorded the accused murderer courtesies consistent with his human dignity. Instructively, there was no empanelled when the Indictments were read to him by the Court’s Provost Marshall. Even at trial, ‘Burga’ was not required to prove his innocence. It has always been duty of the prosecution to prove its Case beyond ‘reasonable doubt.’ It was also the function of the Jury to find him guilty. Yet without hesitation, he ‘…Pleaded Guilty’ to every Count that was read to him [February 24, 2020].
COURSE OF ACTION
Though not appearing before ‘…The Throne of God,’ Burga appeared ready to accept anything that ‘God’ has reserved for ‘Sinners’ and those who were to be called the ‘…Children of God.’ Incidentally, that time has not yet come. Likened to the date set for ‘…Sentencing Hearing and Sentence’ [March 13, 2020], ‘Burga’ has to wait a little while longer. Those that will have prior knowledge of ‘Burga’s ‘…Course of Action’ would have been (i) ‘…his forever faithful attorney Justin L. Simon QC; (ii) …Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong; and (iii) …His Lordship, Justice Iain Morley.’ The apparent contrite look upon his face speaks to his sanity. Except an accused person puts up a defence of insanity, the law presumes that he is sane. There is still the favored constitutional ‘…presumption of innocence’ [CO: 1981: Section 15].
Not knowing exactly what may eventually descend upon him by His Lordship Justice Iain Morley, ‘Burga’ may have been caught between ‘…Hoping for the best,’ and ‘…Expecting the worst.’ Uncertain as to whether or not the Prosecution would seek the ‘Death Penalty,’ His Lordship called upon the representative of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), ‘…Crown Counsel Rilys Adams’ (daughter of former Culture Minister Elleston ‘Namba’ Adams), to provide the Court with a definitive answer. Clearly not so instructed, with professional and prosecutorial courtesies, the ‘DPP’s stand-in, Crown Counsel politely informed the adjudicator that she was not so directed to advance arguments on such position.
Desirous of being apprised of the ‘…Crown’s Position,’ an hour may have been considered adequate for the non-present Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to give directions on the way forward. Graceful as the Crown Counsel had responded to ‘His Lordship,’ as respectfully she bowed to indicate her departure from the precinct of the Court, having been judicially given leave of absence. She retreated quietly, yet with alacrity from the Court’s precinct. Utilizing the allotted time for consultations, Crown Counsel returned to inform the adjudicator that the ‘…Crown was not so desirous.’ Reasonable inferences may have been drawn that the ‘DPP’ had considered the precedent ruling of the ‘…Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC)’ in the Jamaican Case of ‘…Earl Pratt and Ivan Morgan’ [1993: UKPC 1].
In that Case, it was clearly not only the ‘…Death Penalty,’ the British Law Lords had primarily focused their attention and considerations. It was mainly the ‘…constitutional arguments’ advanced on ‘…Cruel and inhuman treatment.’ They were concerned over convicted murderers languishing on ‘…Death Row for 14 years.’ Thus, they had given considerations to the ‘…Mental Anguish’ endured under sentence of death. As a consequence, they have determined that the inordinate delay in executing the murder convicts constitutes ‘…Cruel and inhuman treatment.’ Such provision is also contained in this nation’s Constitution Order [Section 7: 1981]. They have also stipulated ‘…an Impossible Timeline’ of five years to complete all judicial formalities. At such time, it is expected that the ‘Noose’ would be snugly placed around the neck of a condemned prisoner. Burga would experience none of that. He will not be able to drive his ‘…pink-colored convertible,’ though.
JUSTICE GONE MAD
Instructively, in the recent Case in which two accused males were ‘…jointly charged and jointly indicted’ on a Count of Murder.’ This related to the ‘…brutal, senseless and cold-blooded murder of a male Sea View Farm resident Shane James.’ This was reportedly committed in full view of his distraught and grieving mother [May 7, 2015]. Directions or no directions, the Crown Prosecutor may have unwittingly accepted a plea of ‘…Manslaughter.’ This resulted when two of the three murder-accused, ‘Dane ‘Blinga’ Hart and Lenroy ‘Ramone’ Black,’ opted to be seen as ‘…Man Slaughterers’ and freed on ‘Time Served.’ The judicial decision had not only provoked public dissent and sparked intense public debates, but had also outraged the public conscience, with the focus of an adjudicator’s ‘…Sense of Justice.’ Sensing that ‘…Justice had Gone Mad,’ Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had been impelled to appeal what may have been reasonably inferred as a ‘…Perverse Application’ of the ‘…ECSC Sentencing Guidelines.’
Addressing Defence Counsel, Justin L. Simon QC, His Lordship Justice Iain Morley pointed out to the self-convicted murderer that ‘…With the background of violence, the accused was facing either (a) …Full Life Sentences or (b) …Partial Life Sentences.’ However, there might be compelling mitigating factors; (i) …the Guilty Pleas; and (ii) …Considerations that may be obtained from a Social Inquiry Report.’ These might be supplemented by the possible application of the obvious ridiculous ‘…Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) ‘…accused-favored Sentencing Guidelines.’ Even so, there may still be no comfort for the accused.
GREEN GRASS OF HOME
His Lordship has given clear indications that given the gravity and nature of the violence perpetrated against the defenceless victims, the ‘…Sentencing Hearing,’ is most likely to be extensive and intensive. Burga, therefore, may very well be caught up with the ‘…Tom Jones’ syndrome. The singer knew that when he ‘…Stepped down from the train,’ singing ‘…Green, green grass of home’ and ‘…My old hometown look the same,’ he had won his liberty. Previously indicted and pleaded guilty to; (i) ‘…Two unpunished Counts of Attempted Murder,’ Burga is also facing (ii) …a Third Count of Attempted Murder; and (iii) ‘…Two serious Counts of Murder.’
FOUR GRAY WALLS
Most likely, the accused could be favored with a ‘…Partial,’ yet lengthy ‘…Life Sentence.’ Likened to, yet unlike the singer who remembered the ‘…four gray walls that surrounded him,’ the flamboyant and locally known street-side gamester and street-smart ‘Burga’ knows something as well. For instance, if the possible ‘…Double or Partial Life Sentence,’ is imposed, and lucky to get ‘…an Attorney General’s Prison Remission;’ Na-a-ah- favored if the Governor General exercised his ‘…Prerogative of Mercy’ and granted a pardon, while there may be ‘…Green Grass,’ his Donovan’s community would never look the same. Conversely, if while in incarceration, a beard is grown or the hair on his head is allowed to grow, short or cropped, they most certainly will become as white as snow.
Though not necessarily advancing excusable arguments for the self-convicted murderer ‘…Calvin ‘Burger’ James’ or seeking to show justification for his violent and deadly acts.’ Such criminal acts are inexcusable. However, professional principle dictates that it should be told that he had expressed serious concerns over the way personnel then stationed at the ‘…Grays Farm Police Station.’ He had not only accused personnel of being ambivalent, but also of incertitude to the grave and desperate situation that existed. He was not unmindful that the harbored thought of exacting violence upon his family if he had possessed ‘…a gun,’ would have been concealed from law enforcement. He had reposed sufficient confidence that even with such possibility, it might not have been revealed. The possibility for grief and sorrow was imminent. Thus, a duty to help prevent the inevitable demanded that law enforcement was apprised of the situation. It was obvious that the ‘…murder convict’ was deeply perturbed. Even so, he had exhibited no behavior where it may have been reasonably inferred that he was losing touch with reality. He had not only lost confidence in those that were charged with the duty of serving and protecting law abiding citizens, but also hope in the service they provided. For reasons of prevention, this was done with the view of assisting him out of a family feud that had the potential for ‘…Sorrow and Grief.’ These may have been easily discerned by anyone he had spoken to of his personal grievances reportedly attributed to his ‘…Sister Ineta Liburd.’ Eventually these were manifested in unforgiveable violence and the unfortunate ‘…tragic loss of life.’ Now, he has resigned to his fate that before ‘…Justice Iain Morley,’ institutional residency is not only the alternative sentence to the ‘…Death Penalty,’ but very likely to be painfully lengthy. Until they could resolve their differences with some measure of civility, may the ‘…Good Lord blesses Burga and Ineta.’ ***