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Context for the Book When Doves Cry

In: English and Literature

Submitted By neciak
Words 2074
Pages 9
Garneshia K. Lewis
ENGL208 – Bahamian Literature
Professor M. Sairsingh
March 14, 2015

The Context for When Doves Cry: The Bahamas in the 1980s When Doves Cry, written by Keith A. Russell, was set in the 1980s in Eight Mile Rock, a settlement on Grand Bahama Island. J.J., the main character, is recounting his life and the elements of it that landed him on death row like his crack-addicted mother, his troubled sister and abnormal brother and, of course, his crime. This essay discusses the history of the Bahamas during this time, the political context of the novel being set during this time in Bahamian history and the social ramifications presented in the book and from other sources. How and why did cocaine manage to find its way to Bahamian soil? Cocaine was transported from Colombia, where it was produced, to the Bahamas to its destined location, the United States, which has a very large demand market for the drug and to which the Bahamas has a close proximity. The increase in the availability of cocaine in the Bahamas was due to the arrival of Carlos Lehder, a drug lord from Colombia who was the leader of the Medellin Cartel, in 1978. According to PBS, when Lehder arrived, he bought large properties on Norman’s Cay, Exuma including an airstrip and as a result, there was a notable increase in the amount of airplanes coming onto the island. Ultimately, Lehder used the island as a station for his drug cartel and ended up forcing locals and visitors away from the island. Cocaine was favourably transported by airplane and dropped into the ocean to be picked up by speedboats. It was also distributed to the other islands by low-flying airplanes that would drop the airtight blocks onto beaches, like what occurred in When Doves Cry (43). Lehder’s reign ended in 1982 when Bahamian officials were pressured by the United States to investigate the illegal use of Norman’s Cay in the transhipment of drugs. Although Lehder’s reign ended this year, it was only the beginning of the cocaine epidemic in the Bahamas. According to a research article conducted by Jekel et al., when Lehder’s cartel was disrupted in 1982, in this year, there were no cases of cocaine abuse reported to the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre or the Community Psychiatric Clinic (CPC) in Nassau, the only hospitals in the Bahamas that treat substance abuse and mental patients. As a result of cocaine becoming one-fifth of its former price and more available because of its increase in production in South America, new admissions for cocaine abuse increased to 69 in 1983 and spiked in 1984, reaching 523 new admissions. Admissions to Sandilands and CPC only consisted of cocaine abusers whose conditions were so severe that they needed to seek help. Additionally, substance abuse patients were classed by the drug that is most prevalent in their system at the time of admission. Therefore, these numbers are only an estimation of the increase in cocaine abusers in the entire Bahamas. By 1984, cocaine dealers were only selling freebase cocaine, the most addictive form of cocaine (which Martha smoked), which accounted for 98% of cocaine-related referrals to the hospitals in that year. There were few political uproars and corruption allegations in the 1980s that caught the attention of the media like the allegations against Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling and a few others holding respectable positions in society working along with the Medellin Cartel who were exposed by the Report of the Commission of Inquiry. Ehrenfeld begins her citing of the Royal Commission by restating Nigel Bowe’s involvement in the drug trade. Bowe, a Bahamian lawyer, “helped to bribe corrupt [Bahamian] airport officials” in disregarding flights with obvious ties to Colombia (9). The Royal Commission found that Bowe’s relationship with the traffickers was not congruent with the law as he knew of the wrongdoing and helped them in their crime.
On another note, Ehrenfeld states that when Norman’s Cay was visited by some of the Medellin Cartel’s kinpins, Lehder was praised for his “judicious choice of the Bahamas” and marvelled at the discretion of Bahamian banks which allowed these kingpins to open bank accounts, depositing money generated from their illegal drug trade, and wire transfer the funds to bank accounts in Panama (10).
Ultimately, U.S. officials took a keen interest in prompting the Bahamas to rid this country of the drug infusion, which forced Bahamian officials to conduct a raid on Norman’s Cay on Septmber 14, 1979. Naming this raid “Operation Raccoon,” the raid was set for September 1, but was delayed until the 14th (Ehrenfeld 11). During this delay, Lehder was informed of Operation Raccoon by bribed police officials and he cleaned up the island. As a result of the raid, thirty-three people were arrested, excluding Lehder, a small amount of weapons were confiscated and little cocaine was found. A few days later, each person who had been arrested was released on a $2,000 bail (Ehrenfeld 12). According to the Royal Commission of Inquiry, Howard Smith, the Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force was the one who made the decision not to arrest Lehder and investigated Smith’s bank accounts which had nearly $60,000 that could not be accounted for (Ehrenfield 12).
Arriving at Prime Minister Pindling’s involvement in this scheme of corruption, Ehrenfeld noted that Pinling was infuriated by the allegations against his involvement in the scheme and sternly denied the claims (16). Pindling called for the Commission of Inquiry to investigate his involvement. Commission members examined anything and anyone deemed related to the illegal activity (Ehrenfeld 20). Among the people proved guilty by the Royal Commission was George Smith, an official cabinet minister whose constituency included Norman’s Cay. He was offered and accepted a BMW from the Lehder organization in reward for his assistance. Additionally, in exchange for $100,000, Smith provided protection for Edward Ward, a convicted drug smuggler, and his wife while they ran operations in the Bahamas. The Commission also revealed that Everette Bannister, a Bahamian wheeler-dealer, used his influence in politics to solve legal problems along with other problems for the organization in exchange for generous payments (Ehrenfeld 21). Edward Ward, a drug smuggler, reported that Pindling received payoffs from the organization (Ehrenfeld 23). There was also a claim made by Minnig, an American drug trafficker, which states that he saw Pindling receive an envelope with $100,000 in it as a down payment from Vesco, a kingpin working with Lehder, but this claim did not stand as there was still no proof of bribery (Ehrenfeld 23-24). Fortunately for Sir Lynden Pindling, he was not amongst the people found guilty of the illegal use of Norman’s Cay as a result of the report. The Royal Commission could not find any conclusive proof that Pindling was involved in drug money-laundering, despite ample evidence from other sources (Ehrenfeld 25). Many social consequences of cocaine abuse have been brought to light in this novel. Martha did not care about her children’s lives or wellbeing. She was hardly ever at home with her children and when she was at home, she was sleeping, walking around half naked or high on crack cocaine. According to J.J., his mother never cooked or cleaned. Her only concern was her next high and she would use anyone or anything to attain it. Maybe Martha was searching for something she had lost when her husband died and resented the world for what they had did to him, even those who were not guilty, like her children.
Martha’s drug use negatively impacted her children’s lives in a number of ways. Due to her chronic absence, her children had to fend for themselves, and J.J., being the eldest and basically the leader of the family, had to resort to making his own rules for the family from his own rationale, despite his young age. Additionally, during one of the many occasions Martha found a home at the crack house, Angel was left alone and her long-lost father, Mr. Fowler, ended up raping and impregnating her. Martha’s negligence is a problem because, although J.J. was able to keep his siblings physically healthy, the mental support and acceptance they needed from a parent was non-existent. She did not speak to her children like they were her children at all. Her tone and words lacked the care and love a mother should portray when interacting with her offspring. When she realized Angel was pregnant, she held no sympathy for her daughter and probably ridiculed her in J.J.’s absence, which is probably why Angel was not comfortable enough to share what had happened to her. The result of Martha’s addiction affected Buddy even before he was born. Because he hated writing and his abnormal behaviour, it can be speculated that her drug use during pregnancy caused Buddy to have cognitive and mental problems.
As the book comes to a close, we can see the results of Martha’s cocaine addiction and parenting on the lives of her children, who are now all grown up: J.J. is on death row; Angel is in nun school, but slits her wrists and is regularly admitted to mental hospitals in Georgia; Buddy ends up in the Boys’ Industrial School after he burns down the house his father lives in with his family, which he had tried and failed to set afire before.
This book shows the reality of cocaine abuse in families, relationships and its role in the criminality of the user and of his dependants. According to a study conducted by Preller et al. (qtd. in Quendow), “Regular cocaine users have difficulties in feeling empathy for others and they exhibit less prosocial behavior.” This can explain why Martha was not very supportive of Angel after she was raped and became impregnated, even though Martha did not know she was raped by her father until Angel told J.J. when he returned home from school in Georgia (Russell 92). Furthermore, this study shows that cocaine users find it difficult to view situations from another person’s perspective which can explain why Martha was not empathetic to Angel’s fear when she was introduced to Mr. Fowler.
Undoubtedly, the increase in cocaine addiction led to an increase in minor crimes in the Bahamas during that time, although police reports did not reflect these statistics. Cocaine addicts steal from family members, friends, children and anyone else to be able to fund their habits. Addicts find their drug addiction more valuable than any other social factor. From science’s perception, a decrease in the extent of the activation of the part of the brain that registers social rewards due to chronic cocaine use causes users to view social interactions as “less positive and rewarding compared to people who do not use this stimulant” (Quednow). This can explain why addicts do not seem to respond to social consequences like family problems, a decrease in friends and job loss by halting their use of the drug (Quednow).
When Doves Cry is a novel that opens the eyes of the reader to more than just an unfortunate tale about a young boy and his family trying to survive in the Bahamas. It prompts the reader to look beyond the two covers of the book and reflect on the state of the Bahamas in the 1980s: its history during this time, its politics and government during this time and the social ramifications of this epidemic.

Bibliography
"Regular Cocaine Use Appears to Damage Social Skills." Drug and Addiction Treatment Centers Promises. 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.

Ehrenfeld, Rachel. Evil Money: Encounters along the Money Trail. New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 1992. Print.

Jekel, James F., Henry Podlewski, Sandra Dean-Patterson, David F. Allen, Nelson Clarke, and Paul Cartwright. "Epidemic Free-Base Cocaine Abuse: Case Study from the Bahamas." The Lancet 327.8479 (1986): 459-62. Science Direct. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.

"Norman's Cay: Playground for Drug Smugglers." PBS. PBS. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
Quednow, Boris, Prof. Dr. "Cocaine Users Enjoy Social Interactions Less." UZH Mediadesk. University of Zurich, 20 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.

Russell, Keith A. When Doves Cry: A Novel. Freeport, Bahamas: LaVonkeish, 2000. Print.

Sherman-Peter, A. Missouri. "The Bahamas and International Drug Control 1980-1994: A Perspective." Missouri Sherman-Peter. The University of the West Indies. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.…...

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...standards (1,2) 100-150 feet range 54 Mbps Speed 2.4 GHz radio frequencies Elements of a WI-FI Network * Access Point (AP) - The AP is a wireless LAN transceiver or “base station” that can connect one or many wireless devices simultaneously to the Internet. * Wi-Fi cards - They accept the wireless signal and relay information. They can be internal and external.(e.g. PCMCIA Card for Laptop and PCI Card for Desktop PC) * Safeguards - Firewalls and anti-virus software protect networks from uninvited users and keep information secure. How a Wi-Fi Network Works Basic concept is same as Walkie talkies. A Wi-Fi hotspot is created by installing an access point to an internet connection. An access point acts as a base station. When Wi-Fi enabled device encounters a hotspot the device can then connect to that network wirelessly. A single access point can support up to 30 users and can function within a range of 100 – 150 feet indoors and up to 300 feet outdoors. Many access points can be connected to each other via Ethernet cables to create a single large network. Wi-Fi Network Topologies 1)AP-based topology * The client communicate through Access Point. * BSA-RF coverage provided by an AP. * ESA-It consists of 2 or more BSA. * ESA cell includes 10-15% overlap to allow roaming. Figure [ 1 ] 2)Peer-to-peer topology * Access Point is not required. * Client devices within a cell can communicate directly with each other. * It......

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