FLA…The singing may be about to stop

Jamaica is going through interesting times. Then, again, when isn’t it?

If I could borrow a literary device much liked by witty commentator and legal luminary, Gordon Robinson:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!

Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la la la la la la!

Troll the ancient Yuletide carol, Fa la la la la la la la!

See the blazing yule before us, Fa la la la la la la la!

Strike the harp and join the chorus, Fa la la la la la la la!

Follow me in merry measure, Fa la la la la la la la!

While I tell of Yuletide treasure, Fa la la la la la la la!

Fast away the old year passes, Fa la la la la la la la!

Hail the new, ye lads and lasses, Fa la la la la la la la!

Sing we joyous all together! Fa la la la la la la la!

Heedless of the wind and weather, Fa la la la la la la la!

An ongoing saga of sorts is unfolding as the country’s Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA, or just Fa, la, la, la) is seeming being shown to have been a nest of various forms of corruption, at worst, and maybe a series of systemic malpractices, at best.

While I am fascinated by the story that seems to show that many of the practices were the stuff of which malfeasance is made, I am also watching to see if any of the discoveries lead to what I feel is necessary across the landscape of criminality in Jamaica: that the risk-reward equation is shifting dramatically towards the risk end. Put simply, it’s too easy to get away with crimes in Jamaica, so why not indulge in it. This sentiment carries through many aspects of life, and it’s only the more visible difficulty of ‘getting away with it’ that will make more people choose not to indulge in the first place.

Part of not getting away with it is getting caught. That means our services that should apprehend criminals really do that job. Another part is getting prosecuted. That means, after apprehending criminals, a good case is put together to go in front of our justice system. A later part is getting sentenced. That means the good case put to the Justices, stands up to scrutiny (including all necessary witnesses and facts do not mysteriously go missing.)

In this regard, it’s worth reading the views of leading attorney Linton Gordon in a column published in the Gleaner, today: ‘What citizens need to hear now is that the present administration is prepared to do all that is required to ensure that those who are responsible for this debacle must ‘wear short pants’.’

Along the way, we have to see that those snared are to just the ‘little fish’, but also the ‘big Kahunas’. The little fish are easily scared away by a few ripples in the water, but the bigger fish are often predators of great skill and wont be put off course by a few ripples.

It’s too early in the unfolding sage to know if any of the necessary conditions are going to be met. But, we need to start seeing if this country really is turning any kind of corner on corruption that mirrors vaguely what has been going on with our economic policy and performance.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)