Sun | Mar 7, 2021

Letter of the Day | Swift and decisive action demanded on Auditor General’s Report

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2021 | 12:11 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The Gleaner’s expose on the Auditor General’s Report in regard to flagrant disregard for established procurement and contractual practices at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and other government ministries and departments, as reported in The Sunday Gleaner of January 17, 2021, sounds so surreal that it makes one wonder if the whole episode is not an extract from a comedic production.

Where can one find vocabulary to fully describe the kind of governance that allows for over $40 billion of taxpayers’ money to be unaccounted for? And this is happening against the background of significant sections of the nation’s students unable to continue their education because they are not able to acquire the equipment to facilitate online learning. Not to mention the fact that NIS pensioners have not got an increase since 2017.

Try as one might, there is no denying that misuse of public funds of this magnitude is characteristic of a banana republic that is devoid of any system of accountability.

Without a doubt, it is this perennial and continuous misuse of public funds that is a major contributor to this country’s underdevelopment. It is also this absence of accountability and transparency in public administration that is responsible for our inability to attract meaningful foreign direct investment (FDI) over these many years. But while the economy struggles to attain any semblance of buoyancy, politicians’ and public officials’ personal net worth keeps skyrocketing.

Surely, any government that presides over such debacle of public resources has lost its moral authority to govern. Tell me, how can the government be allowed to preside over the nation’s business when it seems that its major preoccupation is a never-ending plundering of the people’s resources?

Most Jamaicans are always aware of the politricks in our politics and were prepared to live with it, but never in our wildest dreams could we envision such stomach-wrenching and spine-chilling dishonest behaviour by those whom Jamaicans risked COVID-19 to vote for.

WHO WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE?

Those who love to promote the idea that inclusion of more young people in representational politics will result in better governance must now be feeling sadly disappointed. For with a prime minister who was born post-Independence, in addition to many of his Cabinet and parliamentary colleagues being younger than himself, corruption in government has reached unprecedented levels.

The question, then, that we are forced to ask is: Is there a remnant left in Jamaica whose integrity is so much beyond question that we can put them in charge of the nation’s coffers and not have to worry about how much will be left there tomorrow morning?

CASHLEY BROWN