We have consistently in this space attempted to bring clarity to the issues involved in the Spalding Market affair and watched with dismay as several sectoral groupings appeared to have lost their heads in demanding Mr Richard Azan's head.
Life is not without imperfection and we all err at one time or another. That is why, wisely, people hold that to err is human, to forgive divine.
Mr Azan erred in the way he proceeded to get badly needed shops built for industrious Jamaicans who were tired of labouring in the sun and suffering police action to remove them from the teeming streets of Spalding, Clarendon.
It has been clear throughout the issue that the civil society groupings and the opportunistic Opposition Jamaica Labour Party were unwilling to forgive, even when it became clear that no hanky panky was evident. This calls into question their analytical skills.
It may be that the history of corruption in this country has caused some to be dismissive and completely cynical of all politicians, painting them all with the same brush.
But while we fret over this sorry posture being taken by the civil society groups — which, by the way, we still need in this imperfect society — we must make one point to the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and the holder of the office, Mr Dirk Harrison.
The OCG is the foremost defence against state corruption and until it is replaced in that function by the proposed single corruption agency, we need to believe in its investigative abilities and the sure-footedness of its findings.
When Mr Harrison assumed the office as contractor general, we welcomed him and we remain steadfast supporters. We see hope in him in the wake of a predecessor who worked hard and was a fearless warrior against corruption, but who started believing in his own legend and subjecting persons being investigated to the often-flawed court of public opinion before the court of law.
While we hold that Mr Harrison's conclusions and recommendations were informed by his detailed examination of the Spalding Market matter, we must point out that in describing Mr Azan's actions as tantamount to political corruption, Mr Harrison — unwittingly we suspect — gave fodder to those who had already been predisposed to pronounce Mr Azan's guilt well before the trial.
Now that the Director of Public Prosecutions, after going through the evidence sent to her by Mr Harrison, has found that there exists no material evidence to bring charges against Mr Azan, many people are walking around with eggs on their faces.
Mr Harrison should be assured that he needs not prove that he can be as strident as his predecessor. He must be his own man. There is no need to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. If necessary, he must be prepared to stand alone.
In handling the reputation of an individual, one must tread with the greatest of caution. This is akin to the belief that where there is doubt, a man should not be sentenced to death, no matter the temptation.
We have faith that Mr Harrison will continue exercising diligence and fairness to all parties in the cases being investigated by his office.