Great joy in Davy Jones’ locker

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They were singing lustily in Davy Jones’ locker, “Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest / Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum.”  Davy Jones’ locker is the place where seamen find their final resting place beneath the waves.As you can imagine, they were imbibing English Harbour Rum, more than a few flagons. The great pirates of yesteryear were stamping their wooden legs and adjusting their eye patches in approbation at the daring feat of modern piracy on the high seas in, . . . uh . . . yes, of all places, English Harbour.

In all their years of pillaging, be it off the Barbary Coast or on the Spanish Main, the pirates of yesteryear had never seen anything quite like it. What sleight of hand! Seems, ‘good citizens,’ had self-righteously invented a host of supposed potential problems with a vessel moored in English Harbour. They made like Captain Henry Morgan, a pirate cum governor of Jamaica, shedding phony tears about concern for the environment, and piously passing legislation to protect ‘Mother Nature.’ They gave the owner of the multi-million-dollar vessel all of ten days to remove it from the harbour, then seized it, after he failed to show up, selling it in a supposedly transparent auction for half its value. Mind you, the vessel is valued at roughly $120 million, as is the pricey artwork aboard it, but the heirs to Black Bart (Bartholomew Roberts) and William Kidd, could not care less. It is not difficult to imagine Kidd singing, “Oh my name is Captain Kidd, and right wickedly I did . . .”  

So there they were, in suits and ties, being greeted by the crew members as saviours. Hoist the Jolly Roger quickly! Where are the doubloons and the booty? This is an easy appropriation, an exercise in the hornswoggle art of plundering, something that will make Hawkins, Hood and Drake proud. Folks, the buccaneers are now salivating at the thought of the loot that will soon be in the consolidated fund, and they are rubbing their hands in glee. Who would have ‘thunk’d that it could be so easy to legally ‘stick-up’ and loot a vessel, a vessel owned by Russians, no less. Talk about a “windfall!”  Anne Bonny and Mary Read could not have devised a more brazen and diabolical scheme.

Of course, the modern-day pirates will have to wait for a while, before they can break open the bottles of Cavalier. The vessel was only sold last Friday, and the new owner has seven days to hand over the booty. Until such time, they will be holding off on the wenches and the grog. Plus, they are mindful of the many hands that are being held out to get a piece of this ill-gotten gain – the boat’s crew, the marina, the fuel and food suppliers, the finders’ fees, the advisers, the officials, and the many other assorted misfits who are owed for . . . uh . . ., shall we say, ‘services rendered.’

No wonder the labels on the bottles of Cavalier that bear the likeness of a traditional European pirate, are being replaced with a picture of our local pirates. They have done what very few pirates in other countries have been able, or dared, to do. They have seized and sold a Russian-owned vessel in broad daylight.

We here at NEWSCO have been sharing our misgivings over the high-handed manner in which the authorities, in the vile tradition of Blackbeard and Calico Jack, have seized the vessel in question, under a lame and concocted pretext that it had been abandoned, and that it could pose a threat to shipping and the environment, in the event of adverse weather. Since when have our authorities cared two gold doubloons about the environment? It was a canard, contrived for the international public’s consumption –  a quite feeble excuse to heist the vessel, and all the booty contained therein.

So these twenty-first-century pirates went to Parliament and quickly passed legislation to suit their greedy, grasping narrative. They feigned concern, and waxed piously about their high-minded love for the environment. Don’t laugh, folks! It was such a transparent bit of Grade-B self-righteous acting and posturing. The fact of the matter is that they saw the vessel staying put for over a year (And why not? It was the subject of sanctions), and they decided to “try a ting!” In cahoots with unnamed schemers, they decided that they would finagle their way into getting their hands on the vessel. Charles Vane could not have concocted a more devious scheme.

But hark! Ship ahoy! Fetch the spyglass. Wethinks that there could be trouble on the horizon. There are still some legal issues to be sorted out, and we are of the belief that this bit of piracy will be the stuff of wrangling that could go on for years.

Never mind the fact that Captain Jack Sparrow, he of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN fame, is shivering his timbers, even as Robert Louis Stevenson is calling Antigua, TREASURE ISLAND!

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