Private sector groups concerned about poor governance practices

Private sector groups concerned about poor governance practices

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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THE Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal (JAMP) say they are concerned about the frequent incidents of poor governance and improper use of public funds by Government entities and boards.

“We are also constrained to note certain revelations that are alarmingly consistent within three of the last four audit reports tabled in the Parliament — Ministry of Education Youth and Information, Jamaica Constabulary Force and RADA — surrounding public procurement. All three audit reports revealed significant operational deficiencies in our public institutions, without the promised accountability measures that would reduce or prevent recurrence,” the groups said in a joint statement yesterday.

It continued: “These findings are by no means limited to the referenced reports nor to those revealed in the recent Caribbean Maritime University audit. They are consistent with decades of reports under different administrations and point to very poor internal controls, woefully inadequate checks and balances and a culture of low accountability.

“These issues are inarguably systemic and must be addressed by a comprehensive effort, demonstrating bipartisan political will from both the Government and Opposition,” said the statement.

They said that while we acknowledge the institutional framework that has been put in place to investigate and bring alleged cases of corruption to court, “We remain disturbed that in a number of instances the regulations necessary to allow effective implementation are still missing or incomplete.

“A glaring example is the unaddressed matters bedevilling the effectiveness of the Integrity Commission, the most recent being the high-level resignations from the commission and the consequent impact on its ability to execute its mandate.”

According to the groups, also supporting that concern is the apparent failure to bring a number of cases within their purview to the point of adjudication in the courts.

“In this connection, PSOJ and JAMP wish to publicly call for the urgent appointment of the Integrity Commission Parliamentary Oversight Committee as contemplated by the Act to strengthen the commission's public credibility and to hold them to account,” they said.

At the same time, they called on Government, to urgently deliver on the pledge to act on the audit findings and on recommendations for correction made by the auditor general.

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