Letters to the Editor

Ja's name is on the light post for the wrong reason

Monday, November 04, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The image of our dearly beloved Jamaica has taken a huge body blow over the past several weeks.

As a concerned Jamaican, who always wishes the best for Jamaica, land we love, I am left bewildered as to how the country will hold up against imploding with so much acts of alleged impropriety by those in positions of trust.

We have recently woken up to the arrests of a former senator and his family, who happened to be a former minister in this government. There was also the arrest of the president of one of our major universities. To top it all, mainstream and social media were all set alight when it was revealed that two senior and ranking parliamentarians, along with a senior crime-fighter had their United States visas revoked for reasons best known only to United States.

In a country in which over 75 per cent of the citizens feel that their government and public officials are corrupt these recent happenings do not help our image. John Public and Mr Know All have already drawn their conclusions as to why they think those visas have been revoked. They have all been tried in the court of public opinion, and as the favourite Jamaican expression says: “If it no guh soh, it near guh soh.”

But, seriously though, for the United States to raise the proverbial red flag as to the eligibility of a senior minister of government, a senior member of the Opposition, and a senior crime-fighter to hold a visa for that country is cause for grave concern for governance and corruption perception indices.

I am not saying that the men have done anything corrupt why their visas have been revoked, and the United States has not said anything to suggest that either, but from any angle it is viewed or spun it is an image-beating issue.

The prime minister, who is the boss for both Daryl Vaz and Terrence Bent, as well as Dr Peter Phillips, who is the boss of Phillip Paulwell, must demand answers from the United States as to reasons for the visa revocations to allay fears and concerns of the citizens both, locally and the Diaspora, and also those of our international partners.

Our international partners are quite aware that Jamaica is perceived to be a corrupt country based on surveys done by Transparency International, so for a minister with whom those key players will rub shoulders to have that visa red flag raised is a cause for even greater concern.

Regardless of which political party we support in Jamaica, our image was dealt a huge blow and no matter how they want to spin it or spin out of it, once again Jamaica's name is on the proverbial light post for all the wrong reasons.

Fernandez “Bingy” Smith

Former Jamaica Labour Party councillor


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