Nothing about accountability is 'bad mind'

Letters to the Editor

Nothing about accountability is 'bad mind'

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

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Dear Editor,

The St Ann Municipal Corporation has been in the news a lot lately over questionable expenses. The corporation was offered a contract valued $47 million to sanitise the city. The funds apparently came from Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

Until recently no other municipality had received this type of funding. In comparison, Trelawny was awarded half as much to do its sanitising, while Portmore did similar sanitising for as little as $300,000. The glaring disparities in amounts only lead to more questions.

Was adequate due diligence carried out before awarding that contract to clean eight locations in Ocho Rios?

The corporation also incurred expense for a charging unit costing $80,000 for the mayor's 2019 Porsche motor car. Mayor Belnavis accused critics of being “bad mind”. Only in Jamaica does a mayor drive a late-model Porsche and can be bold enough to claim his charging unit to the corporation and think nothing of it.

I wonder if the mayor gets a travel and mileage allowance for work-related travel as well.

Questions have arisen about missing funds from the budget — $15 million dollars, to be exact. There are also questions about the corporation's operating bank accounts which have not been reconciled. This all questions the effectiveness of the controls in place at the council.

The current Jamaica Labour Party Administration has been dogged by numerous controversies related to corruption and irregularities since it took office. It is good to see the Integrity Commission taking the lead and doing its job expeditiously without fear or accusation of partisan politics. If it finds nothing, the mayor and his corporation have nothing to worry about. But the public has every right to be concerned, as questionable expenses are very likely linked to irregular activities and corruption.

Government resources are very limited; there are many areas urgently in need of additional funding — social services, education, national security, and health care. Public waste should not be an option and people must be brought before the courts to answer charges when irregularities are uncovered. We must demand full accountability and responsibility in public institutions guided by ethics. Nothing about that is bad mind!

P Chin

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