From time to time I myself have chastised others for engaging in ad hominem attacks on messengers because they disagree with the message.
At the same time, I have also reserved the right to question the right of certain messengers to carry a certain message because of the level of taint on them, (lack of moral authority), and in particular, the messenger’s lack of (standing) to carry that message.
In the United States, for example, a person may file a claim in court that is a perfectly legitimate claim to be adjudicated. Nevertheless, that case may very well get tossed by a judge because the petitioner did not have “standing” to file the claim.
Standing in the legal sense is the ability of a party to bring a lawsuit in court based upon their stake in the outcome. A party seeking to demonstrate standing must be able to show the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged.
It is for that reason that I find the US Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia’s consistent insertion of his opinions into Jamaican matters increasingly offensive & worrisome.
I must reiterate, as I have done every time that I broach this subject of Jamaica’s sovereignty, “Jamaica is not the 51st state of the United States, and neither should Jamaica seek to become that”.
As a diplomat, Tapia has no right discussing internal Jamaican politics, not with Journalists, not with anyone.
But that is exactly what Tapia did while speaking to Jamaica Observer Editors at the Beechwood Avenue Headquarters on the subject of corruption within the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Naturally, corruption is a burning issue across the length and breadth of Jamaica, not just in the JCF but across all public and private bodies.
Why the Observer Editors decided to discuss the JCF and the use of Polygraph with a foreign diplomat is anybody’s guess.
Donald Tapia’s boss at State Pompeo operates outside the laws and could do well with a polygraph test.
The larger fish at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue is so corrupt that he could not be trusted to give a deposition in his own defense by his battery of lawyers, out of fear that he would commit perjury.
Donald Tapia echoes what I have consistently written, that when it comes to police corruption in Jamaica the issue must be broached from the head. That process if attacked from the top is the best way to begin to have senior officers that new recruits to the force can look up to. It also produces a cadre of leaders who set good examples of integrity but on leadership overall.
As a foreign diplomat, Tapia has absolutely no standing to be intervening in the internal workings of Jamaica, much less in how our police department is managed.
This should alarm every Jamaican that a foreign diplomat is allowed to interact with Jamaica’s law enforcement, (least of all an American diplomat).
The United States has some of the most corrupt police departments in the world. In most cases, entire departments operate as a law unto themselves. Groups of cops and individual officers, assault citizens, falsify reports, plant evidence, kill unarmed citizens based on their race, and commit all sorts of egregious crimes, they are hardly ever held accountable for these crimes against entire communities.
As a consequence, no American politician has the moral authority, much less the standing to give advice to any country on police corruption or how to fix it.
For decades and decades, America has turned a blind to the killings, abuse and mass incarceration of its black citizens by corrupt police departments
According to the Jamaica Observer, Tapia disclosed that in a sit-down with the police it was made clear that the polygraph testing of new recruits and rank-and-file members was not enough to ensure the transformation of the 152-year-old force.
“…Today to become a JCF officer you have to take a polygraph test. I think it was last year it was 150 people that applied to become a JCF [member], only like 75 of them actually passed the polygraph test to move on. So that 75, or whatever the number is, those are all clean officers. But, my point to them is the fact is, okay, so they’re clean, [but] what about this section up here? They’ve been here for five years. They didn’t take a polygraph test,” Tapia said, referring to the force’s officer level, “They didn’t take a test.”
Of course, it goes without saying that fish rots from the head. Of course, in this medium, we have long pointed out that corruption should be tackled from the top.
What we cannot subscribe to, is people without a moral compass and lack of standing preaching to us how to fix corruption in our country.
I find it incredible that the Jamaican government would see this as something it wants to engage in, not to mention with this American administration of all possibilities.
While we are on the subject of polygraph testing, It must first be understood that it is not a science, neither are the results of polygraph testing admissible in American courts.
Polygraph testing will not determine the quality of the JCF, or any government body.
It is simply one more tool given to those who are tasked with selecting good quality candidates for sensitive positions.
If members of the JCF are subjected to polygraph testing so too should all other public sector employees.
Law enforcement websites argue, it is important to note that the polygraph test is not always 100% accurate and you may “falsely fail” the test.
They also provide guidelines on how to prepare for a polygraph test and how to be successful at passing them.
By virtue of this, less emphasis should be placed on Polygraph tests and more on paying qualified candidates a livable wage and instituting appropriate supervision at all levels. Check out the link below on the polygraph.
Massachusetts Senator and Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren in 2019 blasted Donald Tapia and others chosen by Donald Trump as woefully unqualified for there positions.
On her official twitter account senator Warren said, “For decades, administrations of both political parties appointed big donors as ambassadors. They’re usually not experts in the country, foreign policy — or anything else relevant to the job. But, Donald Trump perfected the act of selling swanky diplomatic posts to rich buffoons.”
Senator Warren named Gordon Sondland, Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson, Doug Manchester, and Kelly Knight Craft as donor ambassadors, along with Trump’s ambassador appointment to Jamaica – Arizona businessman Donald Ray Tapia.
Not only does Tapia not have standing or moral conviction to speak on corruption, but his very ambassadorship is also a product of corrupt practices.
One of the most difficult messages to communicate with Jamaicans living at home who have strong views on American politics, is that even though they may follow the news, they do not have the lived experience.
Jamaica should not be taking advice on policing, much less on corruption from an unqualified neophyte who comes from one of the most corrupt regimes in American history.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.