Most of the folks reacting to the verdict of guilty handed down to former Free National Movement senator John Bostwick, Jr. got it wrong. Yes. I said wrong.
While it’s fine for people to have their reactions and comments, the sentiments pro and against Mr. Bostwick all appear to be misplaced and are in no way helpful to him or his family. On the pro-not guilty side, I’ve seen comments on Facebook that run the gamut from “oh he got set up politically” to the sublimely stupid “well, because of who he is, he won’t see jail time”.
The pro-guilty people are not exempted too. Many of those comments centered on Bostwick’s political career and excuse the fact that the man has a life that existed well before politics. If you’ve had the pleasure of knowing John Bostwick, as I do, you will know that this young man is cut entirely from a different cloth and is very much a “new generation leader”.
I know that term has been used to describe the young PLP frontliners in the last campaign but the reality is the term should be applied to all of those aged 49 and under politicians and aspirants looking to make a mark on the country’s direction. John is very much in that group. So much so that I give John a lot of credit for sparking the movement we now call the DNA.
I interviewed him on his proposal for the country’s future. I read the manual cover to cover. It was released around the same time the DNA started to come to life and when Raynard Rigby, another new generation politician, released his own national plan. Both documents showed there is a new crop of thinkers outside of the PLP group of young thinkers like Mike Halkitis, Khaalis Rolle, Ken Dorsett, Alex Storr and the others. This is good for the country to have these young men come into their own.
What John’s document showed me more than anything else is that even with a different ideology, there are still politicians who see beyond the cut and thrust of opposition politics, which, as of late, seems to have boiled down to “oppose for the sake of opposing”. John Bostwick has ideas that can mesh well with those coming from the young PLPs. We saw that when he served in the Senate and pitched an idea for energy generation that was very much unique. He could have done the simple oppose oppose oppose thing but the brother came to the table with an idea. Whether he had any benefit from the idea as an attorney is irrelevant to me. It’s an idea that was worth considering if nothing else.
And now he has been found guilty of possession of ammunition. This is a serious offense given the fact that we are in a year of record setting murders sparked by a gang war that nobody wants to seriously acknowledge. Bostwick lives and ran in an area that has seen it’s share of gun violence over the years.
I won’t get into the legal arguments made back and forth or the judge’s ruling. The matter will be appealed and he remains on bail. It will no doubt be a difficult holiday for the Bostwicks, who appear to be a very tight knit unit.
I believe an example will be made. I hope that his legal team can be convincing enough to turn this episode into an opportunity for John to make this into a teachable moment that our nation can benefit from. He may well just be fined and perhaps serve some community service. I hope that is the case because despite his politics and mine, the truth is the country will suffer if his, and voices like his are not available to benefit the FNM and the country.
We need ideas and we need people who are thinking beyond red, gold and green. John Bostwick is absolutely one of those persons.
So folks, please, when you offer comment on the outcome of the trial, consider that there is more at stake than a political opportunity being denied or an advantage of a bright light on the opposite side being dimmed. Our country needs those young men and women who are not afraid to think beyond the box and give a lot more than what is asked. I know the ones on the PLP side well and John is one on the FNM side who sings the same tune loudly and proudly. He calls himself a ‘born free nationalist’. I hope folks take the time to absorb what that means.
Let’s hope the judge feels the same way when he hands down the sentence on January 22nd.