Trust is dwindling across Jamaican institutions

One of the primary assurances that any human being aspires to have is a sense of belonging and trust. People want to know that they can depend on others, especially those in their inner circle, and that these individuals have their best interest at heart. However, nowadays it seems as though core values, such as loyalty, credibility, and integrity, are foreign concepts to many people.

Many religious leaders have been caught with their pants down and have been weighed on the scale and found wanting. Our political leaders are always quick to call for transparency and accountability when they are among the vilest of sinners in this regard.

In the public sector several boards have had to be dissolved due to misappropriation of funds or cases of cronyism and nepotism. In the judicial sector several lawyers have pressured successive governments about the need for tighter laws to help tame the crime monster; however, they, in return, chastise the legislators whenever their earnings are threatened, maintaining the need to defend criminals. But we do understand it – at least some of us –— that everyone deserves representation under the law. In the private sector we have witnessed an uptick in the number of fraud cases across different financial institutions. But what about those many cases that have been dismissed privately because the banks, especially, have to protect their reputation? Many culprits have been told to walk away privately.

Since the recent revelation of missing billions of dollars from Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), many financial institutions have been sending messages and e-mails to their clients in an attempt to allay their fears and reassure them that their monies are safe. Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke has also tried to appeal to citizens' emotions, while expressing shock and disgust at the missing funds, stating that Jamaicans and investors can still trust the financial sector. This is easier said than done.

The minister recently promised full transparency on the matter. But can we trust politicians and the investigative authorities to get to the bottom of this scandalous act? It is believed to be the biggest heist in the country's history. In addition, it involves Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man. Will this distasteful situation cause the superstar athletes to leave Jamaica for good?

Whilst we empathise fully with Bolt, let us also remember that there are other people who have equally toiled for their earnings.

Funnily, we have reached a point in our society at which we praise the "choppa" mentality, but apparently it is no longer cute when one of our own esteemed icons is a victim.

We also see the class divide coming out in the saga. When the police went to Jean-Ann Panton's residence recently to conduct a raid, many of the uptown and privileged folks felt it was inappropriate to have so many officers on the premises at once and for them to have their weapons exposed so blatantly. Are they saying they are beyond a state of emergency?

"Chopping" may be associated with ghetto youth, but is it different from the scamming or defrauding carried out by the more sophisticated?

How will we rebuild trust in our leaders and institutions, especially when a lot of criminals use the Church and clergy to shield themselves?

The Apostle Paul admonished the Philippians and beseeched in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Oneil Madden is interim chair/head of Department of Humanities and lecturer in language(s) and linguistics at Northern Caribbean University. He is also a PhD candidate in applied linguistics at Clermont Auvergne University, France. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

Oneil Madden

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