Saturday, October 12, 2019

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THE majority of Jamaicans should not be surprised about the arrest and charge of former Education Minister Ruel Reid, as they already think local politicians are corrupt.

An islandwide survey conducted between August 24 and September 18 by the Don Anderson-led Market Research and Services Limited, with 1,000 respondents, and with a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent, found that 73 per cent of Jamaicans believe members of the political directorate are definitely involved in corruption.

A further 19 per cent of respondents believe Jamaican politicians are somewhat involved in corruption.

Anderson noted that the police, who 69 per cent of Jamaicans believe are definitely involved in corruption, trail the politicians in the definitely corrupt group, but with 23 per cent of respondents believing the cops are somewhat involved in corruption, there is no daylight between the two.

Anderson noted that the respondents believe corruption is also rife in other sections of the Jamaican society.

“What about the justice system and the public sector? They are not spared the perception of corruption by the general public because 43 per cent of the persons interviewed believe that there is corruption in the court system and to a lesser extent, 29 per cent feel that there is corruption within the senior public sector workers,” said Anderson.

Comparing the numbers with the findings of a similar survey done in 2016, Anderson indicated that three years ago 60 per cent of Jamaicans believed that corruption was the highest amongst politicians but that is down to 58 per cent this year.

In 2016, 28 per cent of respondents said the highest level of corruption was in the police force and this has climbed to 31 per cent this time around.

The survey found that the majority of Jamaicans would be prepared to get involved in the fight against corruption with a fear of victimisation preventing others from getting involved.

“We asked persons about the likelihood of them becoming involved in the fight against corruption and we noticed that there is a strong propensity by the general public to do so. We looked at 2016 and 2019 and in both cases the majority of persons said, 'yes I would be prepared to help in the fight against corruption'.

“We looked at 2016 and we looked at 2019 and what is important is that the number of persons in 2019 who said they would be prepared to (59 per cent) is fewer than those who said they would be in 2016 (72 per cent). Happily it is still the majority,” said Anderson.

The market researcher was speaking on Thursday at the launch of a European Union-funded National Integrity Action (NIA) project dubbed, 'Combatting Corruption in Jamaica: Improving Citizens' Access to Justice through Accountability, Transparency and Access to Information'.

Reid, his wife Sharen and daughter Sharelle, as well as head of the Caribbean Maritime University Professor Fritz Pinnock, as well as Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence (Jamaica Labour Party, Brown's Town Division) were arrested and charged Wednesday in connection with numerous corruption offences. They were granted bail on Thursday and are scheduled to return to court on January 23, 2020.

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