by Teni Housty, Attorney-at-Law, LL.M.; MBA
The times when we stop to think that life is good are not always frequent. Sometimes, Guyana can be that sort of place. When last did you, the reader, have a moment when you said Guyana is good and you had a good time? The power of a positive perspective is an interesting human capability. It is from this positive orientation that this tale of a real, reel meal begins.
I thank my colleague from the Belize Red Cross for the title of this contribution, which was conceived on a bus to the airport after five days of a regional Red Cross conference. The author has not strayed too far from his foundations. This is a story of law, fishing, catching and cooking. Part one deals with the real, part two the reel, and part three, the meal.
When work takes over life, there comes a time for a reality check. The reality check can be voluntary, whereby the busy person takes a break from the hectic schedule by choice. On the other hand, it can be involuntary – not in the sense of “involuntary manslaughter”, but in the sense of a medical complication that causes the busy individual to slow down. For the author the choice is voluntary, the reality check and the way to keep it real is to go fishing.
For the practical fisher the first step in the pursuit of the real is to get real bait. For this tale the bait is white belly fresh water shrimp. To be successful in this step, the fisher has to be first in time. The first time takes precedence and has the benefit of selecting the prime shrimp.
Having acquired the bait, the next step is to ensure that you call up your “real brethren” and say lets pack a cooler and throw a line in the water. The minds are ad idem, the deal is struck and the journey begins. To avoid any allegations of criminal offences involving grievous bodily harm contrary to several sections of Part II of Cap 8:01, the location is not disclosed. As is sometimes warned by real fishermen when it comes to a good fishing spot, “If I tell you I will have to kill you.” This is time for the reel part of the story.
For this type of fishing you either need a bait-casting or a spinning reel. A fly reel may work but complicates the task. The rod has to be strong, the eyes sturdy and the line of the right test. Negligence in any of these equipment areas will cause the fisher to be contributory to their own loss or an accessory to his or her own demise. With the right reel and the real bait, it is time to fish and catch. The targets are the fish some may say – the innocent. Not all fish are innocent. There are some out there who are robbers of bait, high jumping escapees and inciters of violence.
The subjects of the present investigation or inquiry are the scaled high jumping escapees and the scaled inciters of violence. For the full disclosure of identity, these are the snook and tarpon/cuffum/silver king. For the smaller non-scaled fish that might obstruct the pursuit, if caught they are to be released on their own recognizance. It has been said that every day is fishing day, but not every day catching day. This would not be a tale without a catch.
The process of catch may involve old talk bordering on civil defamation, be that as it may, the talk works. Additionally, the catch involves several offences. When the cork ducks, the adrenaline runs depending on the bite to the point of intoxication. Intoxication is only a defence to certain crimes, unfortunately, none of which are part of the catch.
When the strike occurs, the first reaction of that silver king is an attempted escape contrary to section 108 of the Criminal Law Offences Act Cap 8:01. If he escapes, there is profane language contrary to section 141(1) of the Summary Jurisdiction Offences Act Cap 8:02 (Cap 8:02) from the fisher, coupled with abusive, insulting as well as profane language contrary to section 141(2) of Cap 8:02 which may extend to several body parts and generations of the family, all of this on the part of the your “real brethren”. From the escapee, there is the aggravated assault contrary to section 22 of Cap 8:02 as the cork and hook come out of the mouth, then directly to the person fishing. This is also a direct result of premature striking.
If the hook sets, the escapee is caught with all attempts at escape being rendered futile. Patience is necessary and would be the answer to a writ of habeas corpus seeking the early release of the hooked fish. The fish is caught and successfully landed with the help of the “real brethren”. To keep it fresh, the process of cleaning begins, following which, the fish is placed in an ice box with ice and a few beverages of choice, not sufficient to contravene any laws under the Road Traffic Act Cap. 51:02.
When in the box, the fish is on remand as the course of the meal is determined. The fish on remand is a tarpon, so the meal is to be decided.
The meal – Preparation
There are some lawyers who like to talk. They feel that the more they talk, the more they get paid. This approach has prompted many a judicial officer to say, get to the meat of the matter. In some courts, the meat is built on skeletal submissions. For a tarpon, the meat and the bones are inextricably bound together, the bones float in the flesh. The preparation involves actually getting the meat from the bones. The process for many is a trade secret not to be disclosed. For the author, the secrecy is maintained. The result of the application of the process is fresh boneless meat ready to be made a perfect meal. The skeletal remains will be discarded without the need for an autopsy as the cause of death and the perpetrator of the act are all known.
With this meat the common preparations include fish burgers, fish balls or steamed fish balls. The choice is guided by the fact that your “real brethren” had acquired real nice eddoes from his farm. So the choice is fried eddo tarpon balls. The ingredients include pepper, lime, salt, onions and garlic. The proportions and other methods are prohibited from disclosure by the law governing trade secrets.
The side dish can be anything of choice, but as with any tale when the story is so sweet, you forget how much time has passed. The eddo balls serve as a real meal at any time of the day. For the author it was dinner. So there you have it: a real, reel meal in Guyana. Just a little reminder that there is good in Guyana, for real.