Narratives based loosely on factual events were the rave at the recent United States Academy Awards with Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln all enjoyed some success.
Far away in Trinidad and Tobago, National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) director Garvin Heerah allegedly submitted a late entry.
The plot, as published in the Trinidad Express, revolves around real-life retired police sergeant Mervyn Cordner, who operated a “Flying Squad” for at least six months with resources such as an office building, vehicles and access to the National Security Ministry with the aid of Heerah, who was Warner’s strategic advisor.
Can Heerah be trusted to accurately re-enact a play that he is involved in? Would he bend to the temptation of whitewashing his own role?
Readers are urged to be cognisant of the fact that Jack Warner, the National Security Minister and ex-FIFA vice president, has put his career into Heerah’s hands by asking him to deliver a report on the Flying Squad.
Would Warner do so if Heerah was not a man of the highest moral standing?
I rest my case.
Apart from Cordner and Heerah, the Flying Squad film is painfully short of celebrity appearances.
Warner does not appear since he claimed to know nothing about the controversial unit. And ditto Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar while acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams had only a brief and inconsequential cameo.
All three are members of the National Security Council, headed by the Prime Minister, and news of high ranking ex-lawmen running a renegade quasi-police crime-busting outfit is just the sort of thing that never comes up at such meetings.
Since Heerah’s financiers made it clear that they wished to still be around at the end of his report, the film is not being labelled as a tragedy.
The tale begins when Cordner walked into the National Security Ministry’s office and—remember he was a high ranking cop—asked to see Warner on an urgent crime-fighting plan. But Warner, who could do with one of those, was supposedly unavailable.
Did Heerah telephone Warner straight away and ask for further instructions? Did he set a time for the two men to meet in the immediate future? Did he discuss the matter with Cordner and pass the information on to his boss, Warner?
Heerah insisted he did none of the above. Rather, he met and facilitated Cordner himself with no authorisation whatsoever. No one could claim to see that coming and cinema-goers do love a good twist.
But why would a deluded former officer simply hand his master plan over to a middle man rather than, say, come back tomorrow to see Warner?
Let’s go on with Heerah’s narrative, though.
Cordner wanted some vehicles to “investigate” a marijuana field.
Did Heerah immediately give Cordner a number for the Narcotics Division? Did he tell him that civilians cannot just arm themselves and go chasing “bad guys?”
Did he tell Warner there was an old crackpot on the loose that the Ministry should keep an eye on?
Not even close. Heerah gave Cordner the name of someone who owned vehicles that were supposedly not being used and who offered them to the Ministry pro bono out of civic duty.
He told Cordner to contact the man whenever he needed a vehicle which, Heerah insisted, was not the same as authorising a vehicle rental arrangement.
If Heerah did not contact the vehicle owner, then why did he simply hand over vehicles to the first person that walked in and said he was sent by the Ministry? Can any civilian call this person and ask for a vehicle to investigate a crime?
Who has vehicles that they do not use in these times of financial austerity? And exactly who rents to the Trinidad and Tobago government pro bono?
And, if such a Good Samaritan does exist, why is the Police Service always saying that it has no vehicles?
Heerah was just getting to the best parts. What about the e-mail trail that discusses the Flying Squad and again fingers him?
He first pointed out that he was always the recipient of the emails and never the originator, thereby proving nothing other than the fact that he didn’t blow the whistle on himself. That seemed redundant but only slowed the story slightly.
Cordner, according to Heerah, wanted computers.
Did Heerah tell Cordner that this is the National Security Ministry not f****ng Dell?
Nah, too simple.
Here, Heerah might be bound by the fact that the email exchange is already public knowledge. But he uses poetic license to turn a seemingly straightforward message into a brain teaser.
“It was during one of these email exchanges that I responded that I am awaiting Mr (Wayne) Riley’s return,” said Heerah, “and said that I will seek the Minister’s sign off for the computer request. This was done as a re-endorsement of the fact that there was no approval to authorise any request.
“However, Minister’s sign-off was never requested by me.”
So, Heerah promised to pass the request on Warner. This, Heerah claimed, proved that he was just a middle-man between Cordner and Warner and not authorised to facilitate him. Only Warner could do so. That would be the same Warner who knew nothing about Cordner, of course.
But why did Cordner need to be facilitated at all? Why not just tell him “no?” And was he not being facilitated? Was that not why he kept returning?
Would Heerah try to get rid of a bothersome homeless man, for instance, by repeatedly feeding him and promising him shelter?
Is Heerah saying that he used the name of his boss, Warner, and Warner’s advisor, Wayne Riley, in an elaborate hoax on a retired policeman? Is this “Punked: National Security Ministry Style?”
Heerah further admitted that he and Cordner met several times and discussed the latter’s crime plan and the composition of his squad.
It is only then that Heerah decided to ask the acting Police Comissioner for guidance about the renegade police outfit that he equipped and exchanged information with for months. Even then, he did not inform his boss, Warner, who he supposedly pretended to represent throughout that period.
Don’t bosses love it when their employees impersonate them on transactions of international importance?
The Police Commissioner, Heerah claimed, disapproved of the squad and that was the end of it.
But did Warner not also say that he asked the Commissioner about the possible usefulness of such a squad? Were they referring to the same meeting?
Did that not mean Warner also knew about Cordner’s plans and the operations of the Flying Squad then?
And, if they were separate meetings, did the Commissioner not grow suspicious after hearing about the Flying Squad again and at an advanced state of operation?
And why did Williams say he had no knowledge about the Flying Squad when Heerah came to him with operational details as well as intelligence gained from Cordner and his men?
Wired868 tried to address the various plot shortcomings but was unreliably informed that Heerah returned to Argentina.
Movie buffs love endings with big flourishes and Heerah’s narrative seemed to lack a tidy finale.
While there are large doses of farce and more than a few jokers, the Flying Squad seems to fall just short of comedy.
Wired868 cannot confirm that the Prime Minister, National Security Minister and acting Police Commissioner were unanimous in declaring “The Flying Squad: The Movie” as the film of the year and a must-see for gullible voters.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 would like to challenge readers to come up with their own punchline to salvage this comedy. Please deliver them to our Comment section.