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ONLINE READERS' COMMENT: Corruption under our radar, but over our limit

Saturday, September 23, 2017

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The Editor, Sir:

The government seems oblivious to the fact, that when there are too many complex processes to get everyday things done by the public, they will seek an easier way to have it done, and this eventually breeds corruption.

When deadlines which are given publicly for tasks to be carried out are missed, and no one is held accountable or sanctioned for it. It tells us that the government is not very serious about stemming ineptitude or possible corruption in the public sector.

When simple documents, which can be printed or signed in five minutes, are placed in waiting files to be completed and picked up in four weeks, it says to the public: there is no urgency in addressing the needs of citizens.

Likewise, if a document needs to pass through several hands in order to get just one signature, devious and gullible persons along the pathway can, and I dear say, will use those gaps to deliberately slow the process, to extort citizens and to build an empire of corruption benefiting themselves, while robbing the coffers of the state.

FLA is a case in point, too many uncalled for hurdles, or too many points included in amassing all the necessary documents.

Let us look at a few ways that corruption has been facilitated over the years in traffic matters. If the fines were lower no one would need to bribe police officers. If a person can pay a police officer $5,000 to avoid getting a ticket fine for $15,000, why wouldn't they? I know it is wrong, so too the police taking the bribe and the persons offering the bribe, but they are thinking about saving $10,000, which could be used for their rent. They also consider the time they would save by not having to take time from work to go to the tax office to endure two or three hours hassle just to pay a traffic fine.

Furthermore, If one could get a certificate of fitness in 20 or 30 minutes after driving onto the motor vehicle examination depot compounds, do you think anyone would need to pay any examiner or their associates 'a thing' in order to get their documents quickly to return to work, or beat the traffic on the potholed filled roads to reach their next government time wasting destination?

Government operatives working in the public sector need to bear in mind that people have businesses to attend to, deadlines to meet and budgets to live within. When you make life too difficult for the ordinary man to survive legally, all you're really doing is sending him to find an illegal way to make ends meet.

Think squatting, due to the price of land and houses and the difficulty to get them even when you have the cash. Some persons opt to squat. Others are disenfranchised, they cannot afford it, so they essentially capture lands, which were sitting idle for years and which could easily have been sold or leased to them for affordable prices to accommodate order and a sense of pride in ownership in all strata of society.

Knowing the public sector in Jamaica, there are more than sufficient ears willing to listen to the plight of people and then cunningly, offer them a quick illegal solution for a small cost. Again, the government and coffers of the country suffer all because of impractical laws, rules or processes.

I'm suggesting an amendment, repealing or reworking of some archaic laws, impractical rules and laborious processes in many public organisations to make them more equitable, timely, cost effective, humane, reasonable and acceptable to the wider public. If they are not, corruption will continue to flourish like trees planted by the rivers of Babylon, bringing forth fruits in abundance.

I am etc,

Joseph Edwards

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