Is Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Montano Guilty?

Trial In The Court of Public Opinion

The answer to that question is still blowing in the wind.  The raw truth is that rude boy Machel Montano influences the youths of the Caribbean.  Like Michael Jackson, Machel Montano finds himself having to defend actions in his private life in the Courts of Law and Public Opinion.  For the Trinidad and Tobago youths and even for the not so young, Machel Montano is an entertainment icon.  

This is an icon that is facing criminal charges for battery and assault.   Guilty or not, his fans has compartmentalize this from his celebrity status and continue to crave his very presence.   This is Machel Montano the reigning Soca and Road March King, and we might add very well off with the millions he is raking in for appearances on shows and national cash prize awards.   He has been photographed on stage holding hands and being congratulated by the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister in 2012 Carnival shows.   But this is a stale issue, everyone his fans should know about. 

So why bring this up now, we certainly cannot ascribe any relevance to the fact that this case has been in the court for almost 5 years; that’s a norm with the Trinidad and Tobago’s justice system.  Well the reason is that for the Carnival season Machel Montano is front and center on the national stage.  This provides a different perspective of Trinidad and Tobago’s national celebrity. 

The Case
On April 26, 2011 Machel Montano appeared before Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor.   

The fact of the case is that Machel, along with entertainers Joel “Zan” Fezeck, Kernel Roberts, songwriter/producer and son of the late calypsoian Lord Kitchener and Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc are all charged with assaulting Russell Pollonals.  In addition, Montano, Fezeck and Roberts are charged with assaulting Brandis Brown.  Montano faces further allegations of assaulting Jenelle Le Chee and Gerard Bowrin and using obscene language. 

Let’s Not Judge 
Machel Montano based on sworn allegations in the case; we will let the Court do its job.  As you know, there are always two sides to every story but in Court there are usually a third.  There is the prosecutor's, the defendant's and the Court’s version.  All the stories seem “sorta” plausible.  Let’s assume that we knew nothing about what actually happened.  Let’s review what we do know.   This is a public opinion that is usually not articulated for public consumption but is ever present in the collective consciousness of the citizenry. 

What We Do Know

We know that Mr. Montano is a celebrated entertainment personality with numerous local awards for the super energized live performance of Soca music over a 20 to 30 year period.   Machel Montano is regarded as the Michael Jackson of the Caribbean.  Most youths and many old folks grew up with him.  His style of entertainment is loved, as evidenced by his local and international ticket sales.  
We also know that he is not humble.  It is alleged that he uses obscene language in front of his mother, who. BTW, she is his manager.  That, and a lot of other “normal” personality dysfunctions can be chalked up to what’s called “the burden of celebrity status”; if there is such a thing.   Like M J, he started in the entertainment business at a very early age.  Yet, if we take his Facebook fans, over 45,000, as a measure of celebrity popularity he can be considered on the low end for entertainers.  The now deceased Michael Jackson’s Facebook fans Page has 45 million fans. Granted most of Machel Montano’s real fans are not be on Facebook but even so it will be a long time before he will ever get there.   

Now here is the big question and how you answer it indicates the type of person you are.  If you met such a huge celebrity in your favorite night club; what would you do?  Ask for his autograph?  Figure out some ruse to get next to him? Try to dance with him?  Or, pick a fight?  

If you answered “pick a fight” you are exactly the kind of person that Montano has to get the court to believe.   He is going to tell everyone exactly how he ended up bathed in a cold drink. You be the judge.
The outcome of the case is immaterial; what’s more important is the general reflection of what is happening to the society.  There is no doubt that he will be found not guilty, the state prosecutors are working for the State.  The outcome is evident.   Guilty or not, he will not lose fans, the support of the government or money from his engagements.  

Truth is that this whole incident could have been easily avoided if Mr. Montano was of a different temperament.   In my humble opinion, which may be the only one in the Caribbean, Mr. Montano is a great performer but very short on people skills.  Nothing wrong with dat.    

If you are in Trinidad, enjoy the Carnival and Machel Montano’s soca hits.  He stands a good chance of defending his hard earned Soca Monarch Crown  this year because he is a BACANNALIST.    

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