Thursday, 27 March 2014

AFTER THE STORM: With the Cuban Light-bulb Saga now behind him, what's next for Kern Spencer?

IN THE CLEAR: Spencer, photographed in Kingston, following his acquittal on Monday.

Breathing a sigh of relief and flashing the thumbs-up, Kern Spencer gamely greeted supporters and photographers upon exiting the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday morning, minutes after being freed of the money-laundering and illicit enrichment charges, stemming from the immensely publicized Cuban light-bulb scandal, that hounded him (and his co-accused Coleen Wright) for more than five years.

In light (no pun intended) of his exoneration, thanks in large part to diligent defence work by a team led by legal luminary KD Knight, one supposes truth was the winner, when all is said and done. Even so, the journey up to Monday was incredibly messy, and, it goes without saying, marked an emotionally exhausting period for Spencer and his family.

Still, in spite of the treacherous emotional waters the former junior energy minister (and North-East St. Elizabeth MP) waded into, you get the feeling that he hasn't come adrift. Put another way, his triumph has reaffirmed, for me, that Kern is a tough-minded, straight-shooting and supersmart trooper who knows how to deal with adversity -- and ultimately come out on top.

"I am a decent and honest law-abiding person who would never do several of the things I was accused of," he reportedly told journalists moments after his acquittal. "It was very hurtful at times to have sat and listened to some of the things that were said by people who should have known better." There you have it.

But now that he's weathered the storm and what-not, inquiring minds want to know: what's next for Kern Spencer? It's anyone's guess how his story will unfold from here on, but a return to representational politics, let alone Gordon House, seems highly unlikely. Given his penchant for the social scene, live music, and youth-focussed projects, perhaps a few business ventures are in the cards. Until then, it wouldn't come as a surprise should he take to keeping a low profile.

In any case, spending quality time with the family seems the obvious priority at present. As a Gleaner report confirms, he's already re-embracing his role as the father of young sons who were incessantly "ridiculed" and "called names" by schoolmates. For his mom, Peggy Spencer-Ewen, the judge's ruling is a victory to be savoured. "I am at peace," she says. "I am just happy for the ruling."

More often than not, a new chapter means a fresh start. But what Kern Spencer has duly earned is a new lease on life. "He seems more optimistic and upbeat than before," a reliable source confides to TALLAWAH. "He is ready for a change."

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