Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Linton Gordon | Tackling corruption

Published:Sunday | September 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The stench of corruption is invading the nostrils of everyone in Jamaica. The promise by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to be new and different is turning out to be a broken promise.

The revelations seeping out of Petrojam and connected organisations point to a conspiracy by several persons to target the resources of the country and to illegally and criminally take funds for their personal use in a way that is detrimental to the rest of us Jamaicans.

It is difficult to accept or believe that the persons who are alleged to be involved in the various acts of corruption were not aware of their respective intentions and were not placed in the offices and appointments they were placed in knowing that they were being placed not to give service to the public but to plunder government money.

We must appreciate, however, that acts of corruption in government departments have a multiplier effect throughout the society. The first effect we should recognise is that acts of corruption in one area of government are capable of giving the impression to the population at large that the only way you can get things done or you can benefit from your Government is through acts of corruption.

 

'DROP A MONEY' POLICY

 

When this view of the Government seeps into the psyche of the population, then everybody will approach officers of the Government with the intention and the expectation that they will have to bribe someone to get done whatever they wish to have done.

Also, persons seeking employment or wishing to enter into contracts with the Government will approach the respective government departments intending to bribe someone in order to get employment or to get a contract with the Government.

The cultivation of a widespread belief that you have to 'drop a money' to get through with whatever you are trying to get through from the Government has now become widespread in Jamaica. This is a most dangerous development. It is dangerous because if and when a country reaches the stage where criminality, that is to say, bribery and corruption, are taken to be the only means by which you can get things done, then the young people will grow up believing that bribery and corruption are the way to get things done.

The Government is yet to take a firm and decisive stand against the several reports of corruption occurring in various departments and entities. Instead, we have heard a lukewarm statement by the prime minister that the matter is being investigated. This is not enough.

Some of the allegations being made are very strong and direct. They point to specific persons as being culpable. The prime minister should be manly enough to call upon these persons to account and to verify if any of the strong allegations being made against them are true or not true.

The prime minister needs to assure us Jamaicans that if any of the various allegations of corruption are true, he will ensure that criminal action is pursued vigorously with a view to ensuring that somebody will wear 'short pants'.

The overtaxed members of the society deserve no less.

- Linton P. Gordon is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and

lpgordon@cwjamaica.com.