Many businesses have stopped tendering when certain entities contact them. I understand that the disease of corruption has spread to some of the most unexpected places, as there are individuals 'harvesting' the best ideas they can find to give their friends, or insisting on under-the-table arrangements.
Corruption is evident when you notice managers almost hostile to honest, hard-working companies, constantly cutting their budgets, while overly chummy with big-budget colleagues who get away with sloppy, expensive work.
In this tough future, not only must business owners try to forget past injustices, but also to work with these very 'pirates', as we fight, tooth and nail, to protect the jobs of hard-working employees.
When I asked a colleague who recently lost several contracts based on manufactured reasons if I could mention the company in my column, I was told: "Are you crazy? I don't want to get shot."
Professor Trevor Munroe, head of the National Integrity Action (NIA), had the distinction of being chosen to be a speaker at the Rhodes Trust 110th anniversary commemoration of the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, in late September. His topic was 'Fighting the World's Fight -- Against Corruption for Integrity'.
"Both the signs and the consequences of corruption tell us why this has to be the world's fight," said Professor Munroe. He noted:
"According to the World Bank, over one trillion dollars are paid in bribes each year by the private sector to secure contracts and permits... One consequence: faulty construction often leading to buildings collapsing; another, permits being given to build in areas damaging to the environment...
He also mentioned that "at the non-governmental level, the World Council of Churches, bringing together church fellowships in 110 countries... and representing more than 500 million Christians is supporting a global call to action against corruption".
"The World Council of Churches has issued a call in which they state 'illegal tax evasion will be responsible for 5.6 million children dying in developing countries between 2000 and 2015'. In Jamaica this illegal tax evasion is depriving government of funds to properly equip hospitals, stock clinics, provide more meals for deprived schoolchildren, etc."
The church in Jamaica has more power than it probably realise. Should the church decide to address this issue of corruption with energy, I believe it could usher in a sea change for Jamaica. Do not wimp out, dear church colleagues -- the account of Jesus's expulsion of illicit moneylenders from God's temple should inspire us all.
AAAJ Media Personality and Cordel Green's clarification
The Advertising Agencies Association of Jamaica (AAAJ) declared Mello FM founder Al Robinson as their Media Personality of the Year at last Wednesday's AAAJ event. This bright but unassuming gentleman had worked with a Canadian station with the 88.1 signal, and 10 years ago applied for a local licence on this frequency. I recall a founding MelloFM team member, my friend Errol Smith, remarking that Al was an inspiring leader. No wonder the station has been increasing audience share with a vibrant Barry G Show that has Jamaica talking.
We were impressed by our enlightening guest speaker, Cordel Green, executive director of Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica. He explained some of the regulations governing cable operators, and said that, in relation to the recent frisson over TVJ's acquisition of a licence to air ABC's The Voice locally, "subscribers to cable seemed unaware that even in circumstances where a cable company could claim authorisation to distribute a cable channel or signal in Jamaica, the distribution rights can be trumped by copyright or the very terms of the distribution agreement".
Indeed, it seems Jamaican cable subscribers are getting a veritable smorgasbord of programming because we are part of the US satellite 'footprint', some of which our cable providers do not necessarily have a licence to carry! Personally, I am happy that the over 700,000 Jamaicans who do not have cable are able to enjoy the continued ascent of Tessanne Chin.
Action needed re Road Traffic Act
Bouyed by finally reaching their target of 'Below 300' road fatalities last year, the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) had revised their target to 'Below 240' for 2013. Sadly, they missed their goal, as Jamaica passed the 240 road fatality mark last Wednesday. NRSC Convenor Dr Lucien Jones is hoping that the new Road Traffic Act will be passed soon, as this will carry tougher penalties for delinquent motorists.
"The new Road Traffic Act has been in the making for nine years now and we need its passage as soon as possible," he said. "I understand that the completed Bill was sent by the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, and has been forwarded to Cabinet. There is absolutely no time for delay, and I am urging parliamentarians to act expeditiously in passing the Bill once it comes before them." All Jamaica should join Dr Jones' urgent call.
Dr Marco Brown gets highest MAJ Honour
Retired medical practitioner Dr Henry A A "Marco" Brown was last month made a Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) Fellow -- the highest award bestowed by the association on any member. This was done in the presence of his family, members of the Western Branch of the MAJ, MP Lloyd B Smith, and other well-wishers of this beloved physician. A Cornwall College graduate, Dr Brown completed studies at The Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, in 1956. After stints at Cornwall Regional and Kingston Public hospitals, Dr Brown returned to Montego Bay in 1961 and was a founding member of the Western Medical Association of Jamaica that year.
MAJ President Dr Shane Alexis, who did the honours noted: "This association pre-dated the formation of the MAJ, and Dr Brown's role in its establishment spins a tale of intrigue. Upon the occasion of Jamaica's Independence, in 1962, members of the Jamaican Branch of the British Medical Association decided that an independent MAJ needed to be established. Critical to the success of forging a unified national body was the support of the doctors in the west of the island. 'Marco' played the lead role in the 'battle for the west' and, through his diplomatic negotiations, colleagues in the west joined with the others islandwide and the MAJ was finally formed, three years after Independence, in 1965."
We should note that Dr Brown was the family doctor for Mr and Mrs Wellesley Bolt and their son Usain Bolt.