Fri | May 26, 2017

Laurie Foster: That FIFA bust

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2015 | 6:00 AMLaurie Foster, Contributor

Many will recall - the revenue deviants might prefer not to - the days this columnist, wearing another cap, was employed to the Government of Jamaica.

Years of customs officer service, before some politically inclined fanatics had their way, were spent at both the Kingston waterfront and the citadel of learning, the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).

The experience revealed a hitherto unappreciated aspect of local culture, now being played out in some responses to the recent FIFA bust.

Time spent processing passengers at NMIA, with all the chilling revelations surfacing about the then typical travelling public, exposed the underbelly of churchgoing, upscale Jamaicans.

Those stories and how they tremendously impacted a naÔve and unsuspecting graduate of Jamaica College will be told elsewhere, sponsors permitting. For now, the narrative will be confined to what United States (US) Attorney General, the black-skinned Loretta Lynch, and her investigating team have unearthed in the vestibules of international football.

 

ethics in law enforcement

Given her country's culture, she hopes to send three-piece-suited intelligentsia to the equivalents of Rikers Island, Alcatraz or Sing Sing.

Sadly, this ethic in law enforcement is foreign to Jamaica Land We Love. Thus, our people, as viewed on social media, struggle to seek reasons as to what triggered all these arrests and attempts to extradite the nouveau riche fed and, by extension, fattened on filthy football lucre.

Going back to customs, one recalls a typical telephone conversation. A call comes into the enforcement division where this columnist was a most feared fixture.

Caller whispers, barely audible: "I have some information to give you, do you know 'Mr So-and-So'?," citing the name of an infamous revenue dodger.

On being told 'yes', as who is not known to the officers in that revenue-protection area? Click! Call aborted forthwith; the inference being, if you know him nothing will be done to enforce the law.

Mademoiselle Lynch doesn't play that game. It is more, 'If you do the crime, be prepared to do the time'. STRAIGHT, no twists, no turns.

Coming from that background, it churns the stomach to hear unsubstantiated claims like, "dem after CONCACAF", the confederation that has had its profile enhanced by the now falling FIFA regime.

It is time our people come of age and realise that when our overseas counterparts, in enforcing law and pursuing miscreants, catch scent of a crime the reaction is swift and sure.

 

importing top sleuths

Jamaica has embarked for some time on importing top sleuths from the world centre of criminal investigation - Scotland Yard - to assist in the fight against the scourge of crime, be it violent or the fraud types.

These men know what they are and ought to be teaching the locals, the strategies that work in 'nabbing your target', with attendant evidence to successfully prosecute. It is not happening at the level to stem the wrongdoings and improve on the ability to 'tackle and tame the monster'.

Football is loved to great heights by our people, but the stench of alleged ill-gotten gains amongst those at the steering wheel is pervasive.

It threatens to undermine the efforts of well-thinking administrators who battle the negatives, including fading sponsorship support, to keep the label of 'The Beautiful Game' intact.

It continues alongside the thrills of the defence-defying dribbles, mesmerising moves and scintillating shots, which provide the energy, excitement and ecstasy of a hotly contested tie.

With their unprecedented strike, predictably, more anticipated, strong US law-enforcement culture has trashed thoughts of "is who dem a programme?"

Replacing them is the more ideally acceptable "let us rid a world-respected sport, of corruption among its top officials".

Jamaica needs to take lessons. Already, our system of justice has come under scrutiny, with the country's unfruitful attempts to apprehend one of the entire system's 'most wanted'.

The US, to its eternal credit, led the way then and with this latest set of indictments, has registered a double strike. This clearly signifies that Jamaica lacks some of the legal ideals of the First World.

Let not reluctance to pursue and charge alleged sports criminals be among them.

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