Ken Puddicombe, signed by author
Can an individual make a difference when powerful forces are aligned against democracy? Can someone avoid the stigma of his heritage? It’s 1979. After an absence of over three decades, professor MARCUS JACOBSON has returned to St Anglia in the West Indies to take up a position at the university, where he hopes to use his vast experience and training to bring the institution into First World standards. Marcus comes from a long line of sugar barons. His father and grandfather owned the last estate on the island. His great-grandfather supplied labor to the estates in the lucrative slave trade between the West Indies and Africa and was responsible for several cruel acts. Marcus has suffered due to his discreditable lineage and is now hoping to bury the skeletons in his closet. GEN. MARKS, head of the armed forces stages a coup within weeks of Marcus’ arrival. The General is power hungry and sees himself as head of a re-federated West Indies. His Aide, CAPTAIN STEVENSON, key to the coup, is promoted to Colonel for services rendered. Marks, however, is only vaguely aware of Stevenson’s devious nature, which includes the recruitment of THE REVEREND, previously of Jonestown, Guyana infamy. Mark’s coup is successful and he moves swiftly to consolidate his power. However, opposition mounts unexpectedly from different factions. CLARENCE BAPTISTE, an expat, owner of the Gleaner newspaper, once fiercely critical of the deposed corrupt government, is now determined to oppose the Junta and maintain the independence of his newspaper. Melanie, president of the student union, is one of the most vocal critics; she leads the students in a protest march. Opposition also comes from FATHER BERT, someone who believes Liberation Theology concepts should be implemented to reform the church and solve the economic disparity so prevalent in many Caribbean islands. He has no hesitation in joining the opposition. Melanie gains the support of Father Bert and her fellow students for a protest march. They make their way to Columbus Circle in downtown Port George, intent on submitting a petition to the military, demanding a return to civilian rule. Troops order the marchers to disperse. The Reverend’s crew is in the background, stoking the fires of conflict. A riot ensues, people are trampled and many injured, a few are killed. Melanie barely escapes the confrontation. Father Bert shepherds students to the sanctuary of his church even though he knows he will face problems with the church leadership and the Junta. Marcus is reluctant, at first, to join the opposition to the Junta. He feels his heritage and long absence from the island do not give him the right to intervene. When he sees the brutality of the Junta in Columbus Circle, however, he joins the alliance in an attempt to force a return to democracy. But Gen. Marks is furious his plan for a bloodless coup has been derailed. He worries that his and Stevenson’s dirty-tricks campaign will come to light and he will be held accountable for the Columbus Circle debacle. He and Stevenson agree for the Reverend and his group to utilize terror and bring the dissidents in line. The Reverend is empowered to use his criminal gang to enforce the Junta’s policies and maintain supremacy of the military. Everything comes to a head when Marcus and his co-conspirators are picked up by the Reverend. The Junta wants to know the extent of the plot, who else is involved and where they’re hiding the students. The Reverend starts forceful interrogation of Marcus and Father Bert. Amid all the chaos and turbulence, Hurricane David strikes. Floods and food shortages result. A rumor spreads that the Junta has killed Father Bert and riots, arson and looting break out. The military has to intervene again but the situation seems to be deteriorating rapildy. Will Marcus and the conspirators survive the brutal response of the Junta? Will democracy be restored to St Anglia?