PM so silent on corruption it's scary

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I am deeply disturbed and concerned, as should civil society, about Prime Minister Andrew Holness's continued silence on the perceived corruption across various sectors of public life.

The question we must ask is: Why does the prime minister continue to hide behind his silence, despite troubling signs of corruption in our country beset by crime and other social ills, as well as a mad rush for money and power.

It is as if the prime minister is just waiting for these perceived acts of corruption to simply blow away with the wind of nine-day wonder.

Who remembers his inaugural speech to the nation when he solemnly pledged to have a zero tolerance to corruption and his call to us Jamaicans to support him on his efforts to bring a new level of good governance to Government?

Jamaica, as a country, ranks highly on the perceived corruption index and for us Jamaicans, when there is talk of corruption in high places, the Jamaican parlance of “if it nuh guh so, it near to guh so” trips in, and this is not good for participatory development and the social transformation processes.

According to figures from eminent social scientists, corruption robs the country on a yearly basis of some 10 per cent of our gross domestic product. We, as a country, cannot allow corruption to run amok across the different spheres of public life. It is robbing our country and our children of a future and the decency that other countries have come to characterise us.

Why can't our prime minister stand up and be counted among the voices speaking out against the alleged corrupt practices and activities of those who threaten to bring the country down the pit of scorn and damnation?

Not only am I concerned about the silence of our prime minister, but mainstream media seems complicit with their lack of investigative journalism — or is it possibly their fear of “poking the bear” when it comes to corruption in high places? I have always said that a corrupt press is far worse than a corrupt government, and where both coexist good governance and the name of the country are tarnished.

Fernandez Smith

Former Jamaica Labour Party councillor

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