Thu | Aug 22, 2019

A house divided cannot stand

Published:Friday | July 26, 2019 | 12:31 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Jamaica’s Integrity Commission is comprised of distinguished, outstanding persons with excellent track records, but it’s a reality that outstanding individuals don’t automatically make effective or winning teams.

This irony is often observed in businesses, governance, politics, relationships, sports, etc. Relay teams with the four fastest sprinters sometimes fail to win or even medal; very successful entrepreneurs form partnerships, resulting in bankruptcy; and good men and women joined often produce bad marriages. Crucial to any team’s success is its chemistry, coordination, room for compromise, concession, and consensus. Speaking sports-wise, it’s how well the individuals gel.

Against this backdrop, one questions if the corruption prevention commission’s integrity is intact, ‘integrity’ in the sense of being united and effective in fulfilling its mandate.

Let’s picture a Premier League final between arch-rivals with a goal being scored three minutes to the close of play in extra time and one of the assistants immediately indicating offside, but the referee rebukes him openly. What would happen among fans at the venue and in the ensuing days?

Isn’t this an appropriate analogy indicating the disunity which was, unfortunately, openly displayed by members of the Integrity Commission who distanced themselves from a report filed by one of their own, Dirk Harrison, regarding the sale of a government property and the consequential controversies which erupted around him?

Regarding effectiveness, noteworthy are the concerns recently expressed by Dirk Harrison, the commission’s acting director of prosecution, about the lack of, or slow pace of, prosecutions. If a man is assigned a specific task or responsibility and laments that it’s not being done, then it’s natural to ask why he is not doing his job, or who or what is obstructing him.

‘No smoke without fire’

Another member, Pamela Monroe Ellis, had earlier alluded to the need for the timely official appointment of a director of prosecution. But the standard answer is that someone acting in a post has the same responsibilities and authority before official appointment. Well, there is no smoke without fire, although the smoke often obscures the fire, and these named commissioners, I figure, would have good reasons for their expressed concerns.

And talking about fire, even nature and science are not excluded from the phenomenon of the most effective factors joining forces to produce poor performance. A classic example is the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen is essential for combustion, and hydrogen aids it to the point of explosion, but when combined in a particular manner (to form water), they extinguish the fire.

Whether due to personalities, principles, or other factors, is this what is happening with the Integrity Commission?

Daive R. Facey

dr.facey@gmail.com