Letters to the Editor

The corrupt must be made to wear 'short pants' or 'stripe skirt'

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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Dear Editor,

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 one.

The revelations seeping out of Petrojam and connected organisations point to a conspiracy by several people 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 individuals who are alleged to be involved in the various acts of corruption were not aware of their respective actions and were not placed in these offices and appointments knowing that they were being put there not to give service to the public but to “tief” 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 corruption. 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 expectation that they will have to bribe someone to get whatever they wish done.

Also, those 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.

The cultivation of a belief that you have to “drop a money” to get through with whatever you are trying to do with 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 only ways available to them.

The Government is yet to take a firm and decisive stand against the several reports of corruption occurring in its various departments and entities. Instead, we have heard lukewarm statements from Prime Minister Andrew Holness 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 people as being culpable. The prime minister should be man enough to call these individuals to account and to verify if any of the strong allegations being made against them are 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” or “stripe skirt”. The overtaxed members of the society deserve no less.

Linton P Gordon

Ocho Rios, St Ann

lpgordon@cwjamaica.com

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