Please allow me space to unequivocally concur with Peter Espeut in his article in The Gleaner of September 24, 2021 entitled 'Tedeh Fi you , tomorrow Fi me'.
Espeut, in his article, has profoundly elucidated the chronic institutionalisation of crime that has been strangling the Jamaican economy for decades under the two political parties viz. the People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). He correctly cited the fact that Jamaica is not experiencing voter apathy but, rather, a total rejection and protest against the callous corruption that is being institutionalised and perpetrated by both parties.
Espeut lashed out at the dismal 21 per cent voter turnout for the September 2020 General Election, as evidenced by the JLP's measly victory with 408,376 votes from an electorate of 1,913,410 eligible voters. At the heart of his criticism is the merging of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the Integrity Commission, and the Office of the Contractor General, which he describes as a deliberate strategy to institutionalise corruption by systematically engineering a system of stagnation and frustration of the anti-corruption monitoring agencies by muzzling them in political bureaucracy for the gains of both political parties.
I wish to proffer the following recommendations to dismantle the institutionalised corruption, nepotism, and cronyism that is endemic in Jamaica.
1) Create a revised and expanded independent civil service employment bureau responsible for all recruitment of civil servants and quasi-government employees. This will eliminate the power of boards to choose potential candidates for employment with political affiliation and allow for professionalism in the recruitment process.
2) Provide all boards with a strict job description for monitoring and assessing the functions and progress of the entities they serve to ensure that they function optimally.
3) Require that all government contracts be submitted to the Integrity Commission for approval and expand the functions of the commission to have supervisory responsibilities to ensure that jobs for which contracts have been approved are completed as expected.
3) Empower the permanent secretaries to have adequate and proficient office staff to cope with real-time monitoring of all contracts in progress.
4) Employ quantity surveyors to monitor jobs in progress and certify them complete to satisfaction.
5) Empower the anticorruption agency with the powers of a high court to prosecute corruption relating to contracts.
6) Empower the Trevor Munroe-led National Integrity Action with the authority to request documents and intervene in situations that appear questionable so as to foil acts of corruption and take legal action.
7) Redesign the salary scale of public officers to reflect economic reality, and hold them accountable for flouting the laws and regulations.
8) Make provisions for certain government positions to have access to land and other national resources at concessionary rates.
9) Make it mandatory for the leader of the Opposition to formulate meaningful plans and strategies for submission to the Government and have these plans enforced by the Public Sector Organisation of Jamaica. Heading this list should be a viable crime-reduction plan.
10) Sever ties with criminal gangs and their affiliates and take action to dismantle all garrisons.