Sunday, April 15, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Woolmer update

This is reaching ridiculous proportions now.

Today, the Jamaican Constabulary Force has come out and said that Woolmer was poisoned before being strangled to his death. This is what we had all concluded on Day One, when it was confirmed that there was blood on his pillow, on the bathroom floor and elsewhere along with a lot of vomit. Understandably, the JCF couldn't have made the announcement without having got the toxicology report. But surely this tells us that the case hasn't progressed at all.

And if we take our minds back to the time Woolmer was murdered...we had first been told then that the tests (toxicology and histology) had been 'inconclusive'. The same evening, after about five hours, we were told that the police is treating Woolmer's death as 'suspicious'. I had asked Mark Shields at the time whether they had moved from 'inconclusive' to 'suspicious' after the tests, and the reply was 'yes, obviously'.

Which raises the question: If the tests had been conducted then and had helped the police move from 'inconclusive' to 'suspicious', then what is the police playing at by saying they are now in possession of the toxicology reports?

It really is a case of the police mucking up the investigations, and also giving in to demands from a number of quarters to keep the murderer being named till after the World Cup. Look at the overall picture. India and Pakistan losing out has made the World Cup a financial disaster. The spectators have suffered, the local organisers have suffered, the ICC has suffered, the sponsors have suffered. To name Woolmer's killer now would take the World Cup to where it was when it was first announced that he was murdered; in the background.

Which is also the reason why the police, which said that it was ahead of the game on March 24th, is now saying that it is now in for the long haul.

It's a mess. A complete mess. And with the Coroner's Inquest starting on April 23rd, Woolmer's embalmed dead body remains at the Roman Funeral Parlour in Kingston. Almost a month now from the day when he was killed, Woolmer is in Kingston, with the promise that his body will stay in Kingston till the Inquest is over, which could take another month. Now I am not particularly sensitive about these things and Woolmer's murder affected me only in than that it was a big blot on the game, but it does make me icky to note that the dead body will be sent home or cremated over two months after Woolmer's death.

Now Woolmer was a respected man, but his two big coaching stints were with the fixing-tainted South African team and then the Pakistan team, which the world considers deeply mired in fixing. Woolmer may or may not have wanted to squeal, but fact is that he didn't. When he was with the South Africans or when he was with the Pakistanis. But be that as it may, I don't think anyone deserves what Woolmer is getting right now. And surely the police owes it to him to get this farce over with at the earliest.