Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Cultural acceptance

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A few days ago, Kelly Tomblin, head of Jamaica Public Service Company, made a statement which included reference to the culture of the Jamaican population.

She stated that stealing, and she was referencing electricity, is culturally acceptable in Jamaica. This prompted thoughts of what other negative is culturally acceptable to us as a society.

Women of childbearing age, aided and engaged with the men of the society, daily line out the statement that they are only 'having out their lot'. Promiscuity and combined with the need to conceive is acceptable.

This is across all economic strata, all educational strata and readily embraced equally by those who can and those who cannot, care for the offspring. It is correct that the birth rate is in decline, but I am of the belief that the decline is not correlated to morality coming to the forefront, but the easier availability of birth control methods. It is culturally accepted that giving birth to a child in a single parent household is the normal and proper thing to do.

When reference is made to stealing electricity and its acceptance, this is a limiting statement. We are a nation of thieves. Office supplies, time cash and merchandise, fraudulent land transactions by professionals and laypersons alike are the order of the day. When one confronts an alleged thief, it is not surprising to be told, ' ah suh de ting set. Ah nuh nutten dat'.

If you have ever had the experience of being an active farmer, then you would have a better appreciation for the dastardly act referred to as praedial larceny. The accused will often say that the loss of two of your goats or four heads of cattle will not damage the farmer because he was only trying to provide for his school age children.

The Government, and in particular the justice system, does not treat this kind of theft as anything other than culturally acceptable. Allow registered farmers to be legally armed in large numbers and watch praedial larceny decline. Here all those who find it culturally acceptable raise a hue and cry about killing a human over two goats.

There is a new Road Traffic Act in the offing. I am prepared to state that it will not make a dent on the numbers of persons who buy driver's licence and other motor vehicle services, bypassing the legitimate channels. The insurance companies have very little control over the issuing of cover notes and certificates of insurance.

The Transport Authority and the issuance of road licences leaves a lot to be desired. The police allow vendors and transport operators to create mayhem on the roads. Off course some of these same police are operators and/or owners of these vehicles, but the disorder and chaotic activities that exists on our roads is all culturally acceptable because, 'ah nuh nutten dat. Ah suh de ting set. Man have fe het ah food'.

The current issue with contaminated automobile fuel could not have grown to the level it is without the complicity of the regulator, distributors and retailers, lead by an inept government ministry. They all proudly display that the pumps have been inspected, but they overlook what flows through the pumps.

Is it surprising that the minister responsible for this is once again Phillip Paulwell? Let us watch and see what next happens. I think we have seen all that is going to happen, but this is all culturally acceptable.

Persons cut up and sell land belonging to government in Dallas, St Andrew, St Mary and St Ann. Money is exchanged before anything is questioned as to the authorisation, but off-course, 'ah nuh nutten dat', because this is all culturally acceptable.

The high and mighty doctors use government supplies, equipment and time for personal gain and then demand indemnity. The patients owe the University Hospital of the West Indies $1.2 billion that the taxpayer will have to absorb, because it is government owned. They then turn around and want better care, 'but ah nuh nutten dat. Ah suh de ting set'. It is culturally accepted.

When, oh when are people going to start going to prison for these and other similar matters.

As an individual, I can promise to Kelly Tomblin, the OUR, the Ministry of Energy and all who maybe associated with a plan to have me pay for the theft of electricity over and beyond what currently obtains, this will see me leading a crusade to challenge, reject and oppose in every which way this culturally accepted stealing of my money.

2016 is here and if you think any of this is going to become culturally unacceptable any time soon, then you are living in the wrong place.




Commendations go out for acts in the national interest. The Jamaica Stock Exchange is comparatively speaking a small one, however the operators must be congratulated for having, in 2015, provided the systems and facilitated the transactions that led to world leading performance. Jamaica thanks you.

Commendations to The Caribbean Maritime Institute which continues to blaze a trail. Jamaica thanks you.

Commendations also to GraceKennedy, Lasco, Wisynco, Seprod and the Facey Group which continued to make commitments to Jamaica in 2015. May you continue to reap commercial success. Jamaica thanks you.

Mr Butch Hendrickson of the National Group of Companies put into practise his commitments to the small business sector with his mentoring and marketing support in 2015. He proved the adage "you can do good while doing well" for the nation. Jamaica thanks you.

- Ronald Mason is an immigration attorney and Supreme Court mediator. Email feedback to and