The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Nightwalker and the Honourable Member

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

“…the controversy surrounding Mary Magdalene speaks to centuries of the dominant ideology that shapes values around female sexuality and stigmatizes sex workers on a moralistic premise.”Kate Edwards, University of Sheffield in “The Conversation” (2016)

For a people alternatively given to either the hagiolatry or denigration of the politician depending on one’s persuasion or current fancy, the entry into the local political fray for the upcoming general election of Ms Natalie (“Natlee”) Harewood, a self-confessed former prostitute, must present a conundrum to the Barbadian voter.

Should she be excoriated as undeserving, given her former vocation, of a seat in the august Lower Chamber or even of the chance to challenge therefor? Or should she be encouraged in her undertaking to be a voice for those likewise vulnerably situated?

There are, of course, those who perceive her candidacy as an admirable venture in the finest democratic tradition and those who have, at the same time, taken the opportunity to compare her favourably, despite, or perhaps because of, her antecedents, with the current membership of the local political class; while there are others, including at least one section of the media, that have played the card of righteous indignation and wondered “aloud “ if we are now prepared “to throw the baby out with the bathwater” and “to fully fling ourselves precariously into the moral abyss…”

Querying when if ever did prostitution become legal in Barbados, that organ’s leader asks, if it is not, “why does “Natlee” and her financier even have the gumption to vy (sic) for a place in our most honourable House of Assembly?” If not, it declaims further, why is there no warrant issued by the Royal Barbados Police Force for Natlee’s arrest? It gratuitously suggests a possible charge of “offending public morals” based on her previous affirmations that she is “a night jobber with an office located in Bush Hill” and that she performs sex acts for a living”. In the same vein, I have seen a social media post that states she has also confessed to being an agriculturalist, but this newspaper is not the place for any further details in that regard.

The indignation of that journal would be laughable if it were not so serious an issue, but that is not the point of my essay today. Rather, I shall seek to explore the frequently bruited and seemingly vexing question as to whether prostitution is criminal in Barbados.

At an elemental level, if we accept prostitution to be a transaction entailing the sale of sexual favours for a material consideration, then it is clear that technical acts of prostitution occur in every instance of transactional sex, whether the consideration for the favours should be in money or money’s worth and whether that transaction is between strangers or between individuals known to each other. The law cannot effectively regulate such conduct by criminalization -except perhaps other than where the sex act involves male homosexuals- and it does not attempt to.

What it does, however, is to prohibit overt displays of the conduct associated with prostitution and its commercialization. As to the criminalization of public conduct associated with prostitution, section 2 of the local Minor Offences Act 1998 provides at (d) and (e):

Any person who…

(d) in any street, highway or public place accosts a passenger and offers to take him to the house or residence of a prostitute;

(e) loiters in any street or highway and importunes passengers for the purpose of prostitution;…

commits an offence and is liable on conviction before a magistrate to a penalty of $2 500 or to imprisonment for 2 years or to both.

Also relevant in this connection, one supposes, is section 3 (1) (c) to the effect that “any person who … wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposes his person in any street, public road or highway or in the view thereof or in any place of public resort;… commits an offence and is liable on conviction before a magistrate to a fine of $3 500 or to imprisonment for 2 years or both.

My hesitancy to be dogmatic here is based solely on the notoriety of the limited circumstances in which a female may expose her person as compared to her male counterpart.

However, it is the Sexual Offences Act, Cap 154 of the Laws of Barbados, that criminalizes most of the matters associated with the commercialization of prostitution, including the procuration of an individual for prostitution, becoming an inmate of, or frequenting, a brothel [section 13]; being involved in the management of brothels [section 18]; detaining a person against their will in a brothel [section 15]; living on the earnings of prostitution [section 19];or exercising for the purpose of gain, control, direction or influence over the movements of a prostitute in a way that shows that the person is aiding, abetting or compelling the prostitution [section 20].

In summary then, while the concept of prostitution itself at a definitional level may not be criminalized, the local law prohibits its treatment as an organized business and the overt solicitation for this purpose by anyone.

Nor ought it to be thought that it is possible to regard prostitution as criminal for the prostitute’s being in contravention of section 19 (1). This provides:-

A person who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution; or in any place solicits for immoral purposes, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5 000 or to imprisonment for 5 years or to both.

It might be presumed that this would clearly cover the prostitute herself. However, as the now retired legal scholar and fellow columnist, Clifford Hall, argues persuasively in a 1998 article in the Caribbean Law Review, there are at least three reasons why this may not be so:

First, he notes, the section is a composite of s. 30(5) and s. 32 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 in England with slight modification. These provisions in the English Act had re-enacted in almost the same words a provision of the Vagrancy Act 1898 (UK) under which male persons who lived on the earnings of prostitution or who solicited for immoral purposes were deemed rogues and vagabonds within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act 1824…”

Second, section 19 of the Barbados Act is included in the fasciculus (bundle) of sections relating to trading in or exploiting prostitution. The position is the same under ss. 22-26, Sexual Offences Act 1956 in England. Neither Act, according to him, purports to declare illegal heterosexual sexual intercourse or other intimacy for payment between consenting adults, nor proscribes explicitly the activities of female prostitutes themselves….Thus the context of section 19 of the Barbados Act appears to exclude any suggestion that it applies to the prostitute herself. If it did, he posits, the soliciting provision of the Act would be otiose…”

Third, he remarks on the disparity of the penalties between those for s.19, which stipulates a fine of $5000 or imprisonment for five years or both, and those under the Minor Offences Act where the maximum penalty is a $2500 fine or two years imprisonment or both. An even greater disparity in penalties in the English law leads him to conclude that section 19 (1) would thus seem to be directed against those, whether male or female, who exploit prostitutes and not against prostitutes themselves.

He notes, finally, that this interpretation also appears to accord with current police practice; where there has never been a prosecution of a prostitute under section 19.

On this basis, prostitution itself is not criminal in Barbados unless the prostitute publicly displays his or her wares by importuning or soliciting individuals or turns it into an business by establishing and keeping a brothel.

A blessed Easter season to all…

I should wish to dedicate this column to the memory of Sir John Connell, eminent jurist, ardent conservationist, learned friend, brother and avid reader of this weekly essay who was called to higher service last week. I shall regret forever not having the opportunity to spend some time chatting with him as per his invitation last December. May his soul rest eternally in peace.

120 comments

  • yeah Bushman…talk about them white hoes who everyone on the island knows exist,who infest the hotels to sell tail to white tourists and who would be accepted by you and all the other pretend high morals today, should anyone of them decide to exercise their rights as a bajan citizen and seek a seat in that centuries old blighted and cursed parliament which was filled with criminals from the day of it’s fraudulent conception over 300 years ago..

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  • I minin’my bizness but whey Natlee getting all dis money from all ‘o sudden.Who payin’ she to run and why dey payin’she to run…just minin’my bizness.

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  • @Gabriel

    You are suggesting that the DLP and BLP should by the political parties with access to campaign financing from ‘sources’?

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  • @ Kammie
    Bushie don’t know what studies you need to complete before offering yourself for national leadership, but whatever they are, try to come to grips with the distinction between ‘morality’ and ‘COMPETENCE’.

    The absolute LOWEST form of human COMPETENCE is exemplified by the need to sell one’s physical or moral SELF in order to live…. like our politicians do – both personally and with the National silver…

    Leadership requires a level of COMPETENCE that can, not only sustain one’s moral and physical requirements, but that has enough reserves to bring along the weak and vulnerable too….

    Bushie said NOTHING about ‘morals’……. except to re-emphasise the term BRASS BOWL to focus on the fact that, from a moral perspective, there is ABSOLUTELY no difference between Natlee, our current politicians… and 99.99% of all brass bowl Bajans….

    Pacha is just beating his usual dead horse… But righteousness CANNOT be divorced from true success.
    …and Hal continues to be ‘Hal’…

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  • David
    It’s a very interesting scenario and promises to be the result most Bajans would be watching even if in amusement.The City continues to be one of the most depressed areas of Barbados in spite of Dame Billie’s herculean efforts.The experience in Greenfields some years ago tells a story that many seem to like it so.All those depressed areas should be bulldozed and replaced with proper living conditions subsidized initially by the state.Instead we have a set of country managers who believe in the Fatted Calf brand and raid the treasury with inflated invoices and unnecessary new buildings.The devil can quote scripture to suit his purpose and so do the Fatted Calf hangers on.It is ok to give Sandals $500 million in concessions and then tax the average iman in the street to make up for the opportunity cost of doing that nonsense.Party paramountcy ruined Guyana and it is devastating Barbados thanks to the DLP.

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  • Actually the GROTTO money would have been better spent to construct low cost housing in Greenfields. It would have satisfied the purpose of the Housing Credit Fund.

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  • @ David,

    The 42nd Ontario general election is scheduled to be held on June 7, 2018.

    What is the June 8th E Day BU ?

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  • @Hants

    By a rough estimate this is when the 90 day period after the dissolution of parliament will expire to allow Stuart to make the history e yearns.

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  • @ David,

    I was hoping that it really is June 8th so we would have a female PM the day after the Ontario elections in case our female Premier loses.

    Can’t wait to see the news coverage in Canada after MIA wins.

    ps. I like this new BU format. The Diaspora corner and the Sports corner were under used so they won’t be missed.

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  • Thanks, the new theme is under construction, it takes time to rearrange the furniture. Themes become unresponsive to SEO and therefore have to be changed to benefit from the changing algorithms. Your Diaspora Corner will be back.

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  • Bushie

    Woe betide!

    We did not realize that you preferred ‘righteousness’ before spirituality.

    The simple definition of righteousness is, the quality of being morally right or justifiable

    But still you say that you were not taking about morality

    For it both immoral and unjustifiable to so maintain such contradictions generally as we stated earlier

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  • Pacha…
    It is difficult to decipher if you are just being provocative (as is sometimes David (BU)’s wont….) or if you really miss the point being made…
    Morality speaks about conformance to a socially accepted code of behaviour.
    Righteousness is a more absolute word that seeks to tap into the most fundamental of ethical behaviours.

    For example,
    It was “morally acceptable” for John’s Quakers to own slaves …and to exploit them much like the animals with which slaves were equated at the time….The even freed them after 300 years or so… hooray…!!
    “Righteousness” ALWAYS dictated that it was wrong to treat others in any way that you would not want to be treated yourself.

    The whole point here however – in simple terms – is that it makes NO SENSE looking to someone who has DEMONSTRATED no competence to make a success of their OWN life …to lead a country with shiite flowing freely along its main street; with no money in the bank; with agriculture on the deathbed; with potholes all over the place….

    What will she bring to the table?
    …a John?

    Do you think that it is a coincidence that the monument is on the Garrison? …or that the Pitchfork is facing DIRECTLY towards Bush Hill?
    …sometimes you disappoint Bushie Pacha….

    Are they no COMPETENT leaders available for us to turn to….? …apart from Comissiong and Gabby?
    …or are they all just waiting to beg Bizzy and Baloney for easy wuk?
    Perhaps these two ‘B’s are modern day Quakers yuh…..

    .

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  • Did African chattel slavery last for 300 years in Barbados?

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  • @Bushie

    Would you deny Natlee her opportunity to have her Road to Bush Hill moment like Paul’s Road t Damascus moment? Did the earth dwellers of that time not scoff and mocked Jesus when he presented himself. He that is without sin let him pelt the first rock.

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  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @The Honourable Blogmaster

    Given the narrative that you submitted with your article titled “Natlee the Prostitute…(later adjusted to read Natlee the Former Prostitute…” and your 3.31 p.m post above, I am now convinced that there are in fact at least two of you…heheheheh

    Either that or you, rather one of you has a “sweet spot” for Natlee heheheheh…

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  • @PUDRYR

    Dont over analyze, Natlee has been tossed up as a result of a societal flaw. We need to have a 360 conversation to attempt to offer a correction.

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  • @ David
    The societal flaw is that we insist on ignoring the root cause of our malaise and grabbing at straws.
    Bushie is just making the point that it makes LITTLE sense to be grabbing at a straw that has a long history of not being able to float…’

    What Damascus moment what??!!
    …do you think these ‘moments’ are a dime a dozen?
    Those are ‘adoption’ moments.

    It makes FAR more sense to use some COMMON SENSE and to make logical decisions.
    Pacha sounds a lot now like Saul would have sounded ….BEFORE his ‘Damascus moment’..

    Would you choose Pacha to be your pastor now..?
    LOL
    ha ha ha

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  • Bushie

    Yours maybe one interpretation

    Another maybe that you are not consistent in the truth saying.

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  • Natlee is an entertaining distraction .Too bad she is not well educated and articulate like my lesbian Premier of Ontario.

    I am allowed to say that because even though I am Bajan born and raised, I am a Canadian citizen.

    Instead of talking shiite and doing shiite under the cover of darkness and even in broad daylight when de wife at work why

    not emulate Natlee’s recent actions and go and help clean up the areas where poor people live ?

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  • Hants April 2, 2018 4:44 PM

    Natlee is an entertaining distraction .Too bad she is not well educated and articulate like my lesbian Premier of Ontario.(Quote)

    Forget the nonsense about lesbianism, what do you mean by well-educated? Who in our parliament is well-educated? Natalee is just as intelligent as any of the 30 members of the House of Assembly and has every moral right to be a member. The only barrier should be if she could convince the voters in the City.
    I would prefer Natalee any day than some of our brain-dead and dishonest lawyers. She has demonstrated lots of integrity so far.

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  • In canada we dont consider it lesbianism if there is at least one guy watching.

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  • @whiteHill April 2, 2018 6:50 AM “now I wouldn’t even foop you Simple Simon even if you paid me.”

    No danger of that ever happening.

    Never paid nor expected/accepted payment.

    Now take you full bottle of sleeping pills and call your doctor in the morning.

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  • @Hants April 2, 2018 4:44 PM “Natlee is an entertaining distraction .Too bad she is not well educated and articulate like my lesbian Premier of Ontario.”

    I am rooting for Kathlynne Wynne–I don’t think that Ontario deserves another Ford, and I expect that wunna too conservative to vote for the NDP.

    I am rooting for Natalie. You go girl.

    I am rooting for Mia.

    And wunna can like it or lump it.

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  • I am not sure why these Bajans in Canada are always referring to an effective third world country as the home of progress. Canada punches above its weight because it is a white majority country. Plse remind me of the last Nobel Prize winner from that sorry country?
    Look at Nigeria, or South Africa, or Korea, or even China, the most powerful economy in the world based on purchasing power parity, which is still officially considered a developing nation.
    In any case, I offer myself to Natalee to assist in drafting a social plan for the City, where I spent some of my most exciting days as a kid.
    If she wants, she can email me and I will send a draft which she would be free to tweak as she likes. What ever they throw at her she must press on.

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  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Lawson old perv…Wynne wont let you watch..lol

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  • Having met many barbadians Hal, I am sure they are very capable of, if not winning a nobel prize, certainly a darwin award

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  • Lawson,
    I have my money on the Scottish Canadians. The Bajans capable of winning any awards are the ones looking forward; the ones dreaming of home will never progress.

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  • Hal bajans are not stupid you just have to read the back of the newspaper to see that…. Bob also known as Monkey ASS Face would like to invite you to his fete bar solid etc…now bajans know, hundreds of people are going to come to this thing, not to wuk-up but just hoping to get a glimpse of this guy LOL …Do you think there would be as much attention paid if it was Natlee the bakers assistant running,? people are going to show up to her events hoping she might blow some guys in the front row.the govt loves the distraction of this stuff. so you dont notice other things going on. As the first job of a new govt I would review all appointments , hirings or promotions that have occurred in the last 6 months to assure they are merit based not political or family cronyism, and roll them back, or re-tender the jobs. ..

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  • @Lawson,

    You are attributing too much thinking to this government. There is no grand strategy in a government that includes Donville Inniss, Jepter Ince and Chris Sinckler.
    If nothing else, Natalee would shake up the snobbery and cloud of ignorance that casts a dark shadow over our governance. I think she should have a policy of sending all unemployed Bajans to Canada. Nothing better than black pudding and souse in Montreal on a cold winter’s day.
    Seriously, you are right. Governments hand out jobs as the price of electoral support. They have lost the concept of governing in the interest of the entire nation. In fact, not a single member of our parliament grew up when this noble idea was part of our political culture.
    Hope you are voting for Natalee, doesn’t matter if you are not on the electoral register, that can be arranged.

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  • I would vote for her, just like trump said what have you got to lose.Hal you are too funny,what are you saying you want a white majority island, Like coals to newcastle or appletons when you could have mount gay Why would you send pudding and souse here …we already have the chieftain of the pudding race haggis But it is not just support, watch, some contracts go out ,that when they are out of power they have a soft landing as a director or partner in a firm. But it is not always the high profile guys, watch the second layer closely.

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  • @lawson April 3, 2018 5:18 AM “Having met many barbadians Hal, I am sure they are very capable of, if not winning a nobel prize, certainly a darwin award”
    http://www.darwinawards.com/
    Darwin Awards
    http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2018.html
    2018 Darwin Awards winners

    Kindly note that no Bajan has even won a Darwin Award.

    Like

  • Nor have we won any Ignobel prizes
    https://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/

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  • @lawson April 3, 2018 5:18 AM “Having met many barbadians Hal, I am sure they are very capable of, if not winning a nobel prize, certainly a darwin award”
    http://www.darwinawards.com/cgi/search.pl?keywords=canada&maxresults=40&swishindex=darwin.data&swishindex=stupid.data&swishindex=legend.data&swishindex=personal.data&show_description=yes

    Can’t find any Bajan Darwin Award winners, but it looks as though our Canadian friends are well represented, perhaps over represented.

    Lolll!!!

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  • @Hal Austin April 3, 2018 1:42 AM “I am not sure why these Bajans in Canada are always referring to an effective third world country as the home of progress. Canada punches above its weight because it is a white majority country. Please remind me of the last Nobel Prize winner from that sorry country?”

    Arthur Macdonald–was awarded the 2015 Nobel prize in physics; and below some others who went before him:

    Sidney Altman
    Frederick Banting
    Saul Bellow
    Willard Boyle–2009 Nobel prize inphysics
    Bertram Brockhouse
    William Giauque
    Gerhard Herzberg
    David Hubel
    Charles Huggins
    John Macleod
    Rudolf Marcus
    Robert Mundell
    Alice Munro–was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize in 2013
    Lester Pearson
    John Polanyi
    Myron Scholes
    Michael Smith
    Ralph Steinman–was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
    Jack Szostak–was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
    Henry Taube
    Richard Taylor
    William Veckrey

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  • I am not talking about people who moved to the US before establishing themselves.

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  • Malcolm Worrell

    Bush Tea informs us at length and astonishingly, on April 2, 2018 12:50 PM that

    “Leadership requires a level of COMPETENCE that can, not [sic] only sustain one’s moral and physical requirements, but that has enough reserves to bring along the weak and vulnerable too….

    “Bushie said NOTHING about ‘morals’……. except to re-emphasise the term BRASS BOWL to focus on the fact that, from a moral perspective, there is ABSOLUTELY no difference between Natlee, our current politicians… and 99.99% of all brass bowl Bajans….”.

    And that, right there, is the true voice of the true fascist personality. It’s remarkable to see it grazing in the wild. Quick, children, take a picture. You are all idiots, all of you, and only someone who tells you are idiots, every single day, can save you from your idiocy.

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  • Is there a reason why some of you so often attack those who attempt to write on an issue/subject matter, as opposed to you adding your two cents worth to the same topic? Not only on this forum but it is pervasive throughout the land. Bunch of Rass Hole dummies will get there, wouldn’t unpick their teeth, hang back like some catatonic fool, but are very adept at going after the person bold and brave enough to speak the truth.

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  • @Malcolm Worrell, look mister, enough of this shit with you. I’ve spent more than half my life in the pissing cold espousing the intelligence and virtues of Rass hole bajans, now I’m back here living and I can’t help but realized I was wrong, dead phucking wrong. Your assessment of BUSH TEA being an idiot is exactly what I’m talking about. Every time someone black doesn’t agree or speaks the truth that person according to bajans is ” A real cunt or Rass hole idiot.” Then, you wretched bastards take in the gobshite, your words from every white or cooley man as gospel.

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  • Whitehill April 3, 2018 1:22 PM

    Said in a robust language, but spot on. It is the Bajan crab mentality.

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  • @whitehall

    Ignore ‘Malcom Worrell’ this is John when he gets bored.

    #JA

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  • I cracked up when I saw the Sputnik news …. clearly, Russia is looking to interfere in our erections!!

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  • Sorry, I am not Chinese …. slip … elections!!

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  • … ah, I get it, Russia and China are in corrusion!!!!

    … sorry, collusion!!

    Like

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