The lawyer who, on Saturday, drew a gun on one of his colleagues’ husband at a rum shop in Prospect, said he did so because he felt threatened.
Ronald “Ronnie” Marks told iWitness News that he drew the weapon at businessman and former politician Cameron “Dinky” Balcombe because Balcombe and another man were rushing towards him inside the shop after a ‘cussing’ outside.
Marks further admitted that he was intoxicated at the time, but said he was not at the point that he did not know what was happening.
“I wasn’t intoxicated to the point where I did not know what was happening. It was a Saturday afternoon. We were sitting down there and having some drinks and relaxing.
“He cannot say I was out of my mind drunk. But I got really angry after they rushed the shop. I was frightened until because I did not know how it got to the point,” Marks told iWitness News on Monday, adding that he was convinced that the men had intended to beat him.
Marks also raised questions about Balcombe’s claim that he had vehicle problems hence his decision to stop at the shop.
“Cameron came there. He claimed that his vehicle was broken down. He said that he has a starter motor problem. If you have a starter motor problem, why would you come inside a place and shut off your vehicle and he lives less than — two corners and Cameron reach home,” Marks told iWitness News on Monday.
But Balcombe had one day earlier told iWitness News that Marks drew the gun at him for no reason.
Balcombe said that he was returning home from the Petrol Station in Arnos Vale when his vehicle stalled out near “Red John shop”.
The man, who has some experience in auto mechanics, said that while attempting to start the vehicle, he realised that it was the starter motor that was giving problems.
He said he pulled off the road near the shop, which he described as a private property that is open to the public, and asked the guys at the shop to lend them a piece of steel and wood to tap the starter motor.
“When I was there fiddling with the jeep to see if I could get it started, Ronnie Marks came. I didn’t even know what vehicle he came in because I really wasn’t studying anybody around there except that my head was in the jeep with my cousin trying to … start the car.”
Balcombe said Marks came to him and said, “You living off your father’s legacy, you should know more about mechanic because you grew up in that kind of environment and you stupid idiot, your company is getting nowhere or doing nothing’”.
Balcombe said he paid Marks no mind.
“I basically fobbed him off, if you understand what I am saying. I didn’t respond at that time.”
He said that Marks accused him of getting involved in same-sex activities while studying in London.
Balcombe said that Marks, a former senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party, further told him he does not understand why “NDP people have to come here and pollute the place and this place is his place and we must take the jeep out of the yard”.
He said that the brother of the owner of the shop was there at the time but did not tell him to move the vehicle.
Balcombe said he went inside the shop to ask them to lend him a screwdriver to try to bridge the starter
When he went inside the shop, Ronnie again accused him of being a “b**ler man”, Balcombe said.
“So I said to him, ‘Why don’t you tell these people that you are nothing but a goddamn thief,” Balcombe told iWitness News, adding that he was fed up of Marks’ abuse.
“And then he pulled the gun out and say, ah will effing shoot you. And he pointed it in my direction.”
Balcombe said that when Marks got to the shop, he was “drunk”.
“Now, when I gave the evidence to the police, they are telling me to say allegedly because I have no way of breathalysing him but we will know, as a human being with common sense if somebody was drinking or not… He did not drink any alcohol when I was there. I didn’t see that. He came there, in my opinion, highly and heavily intoxicated.”
Balcombe said that while he and Marks are not friends, they exchange common courtesies.
Balcombe said he went to the police and gave a statement.
“I am very shocked to find out that the police hasn’t made any arrest at that all,” he told iWitness News in the interview on Sunday.
“It seems that this gentleman is above some law and I think that the law is there and justice for everyone because the police is telling me they have to speak to their superiors and they are working on it.”
But Marks told iWitness News that he was at the shop when Balcombe arrived, adding that he is one of the persons who helps to operate the business.
“I did say to him (Cameron), ‘But if is me I done fix this here long time. This ain’t nothing to do. All ah we grow up as mechanic’ and so on,” the lawyer said of his conversation with the businessman.
Marks said that Mr. Balcombe “got abusive and started to cuss”.
He said that at this time he (Marks) went into the shop, where a woman who also operates the shop on Saturday afternoons was.
Marks said he was paying attention to the shop after the interaction with Mr. Balcombe.
“Me ain’t studying Cameron Balcombe. He started to cuss again about ‘Whay yo’ talking about how me cyah fix the vehicle.’ I said, ‘But I thought was an easy fix. Keep it easy nuh. Come we drink something and relax yo’self.’”
Marks said he said that to Mr. Balcombe “to try and calm him down”.
He said that he and Balcombe exchanged some unpleasant words.
“I wouldn’t lie to you. I cuss him back. He cuss me and he said some nasty things to me and I said back some nasty things to him as well, because we were cussing.”
Marks said that while he was inside the shop, Balcombe and one Daubery ran into the business place.
“Dinky took the bottom door, he (Daubrey) took the top door and I am sitting by myself on a stool. The minute they ran in the shop after we had the exchange of words outside, Stanley and Curt – Stanley grabbed Dinky, Curt grabbed Daubery.
“Ah said, ‘Where alyo going? Where alyo going do? I retreated behind the speaker and I pull my gun. I tell the police and them that.”
Marks said that he did not know what were the men’s intentions where when they entered the shop.
He said that Balcombe called the police, who responded and he (Marks) explained to them what had happened.
“And to his credit, he didn’t tell any lies to the police. He told them exactly what happened. He said he rushed into the shop because he was vex…
“You are going to walk into a shop to ask for a screwdriver after me and he done have argument and me done gone and sit down in the shop?
“.. they are trying to frame me because after they got me to that point where I was very angry…”
Marks was referring to two video clips of part of the incident, including one in which he told a police officer that the officer couldn’t get a promotion unless he said so.
Explaining that comment, Marks said, “I was talking to the man personally. I told him he shudda lock up the man (Balcombe) that assaulted me.
“I said to him that he has admitted to you that he rushed come in the shop at me. I tell him how I felt. I was scared. I thought this man was coming to fight me — one on one door and the other on the other door. Thankfully Stanley and Curt were there and held them back. Otherwise, they wudda kick the s**t out of me. The man was going to beat me. That is how I felt.”