Corruption epidemic worse than the pandemicTuesday, October 12, 2021
BY NAURICE EDWARDS
The statistics on the novel coronavirus infections are well known and well documented. Every day we are presented with a plethora of figures, percentages, graphs, charts, and rates. We only need to Google “COVID Jamaica” and we are instantly given the most up-to-date information. What is not documented in Jamaica is the number of citizens who have died at the hands of corruption.
COVID-19 is no joke, but corruption, equally and more so, is no laughing matter. The symptoms of this disease called corruption are deeply embedded in our nation's veins. There seems to be no cure as successive governments have come and gone and the infection still rages in the bones of our island.
Where are the centres for citizens to go and get vaccinated against this deadly disease? I would like to know. Where are the mandates, the organised blitzes, and the joining of public and private sectors to rid our nation of corruption? I have not seen it.
I guess the fact that corruption breeds crime, depression, and hopelessness is not a strong enough indicator for our Government to take notice. Our esteemed Government, are you listening? Have you noticed the correlation between corruption and crime? I will leave your statisticians to do those graphs.
I have always known that corruption runs deep in the heart of our Jamaican landscape. I cannot speak for, or compare with any other country because this is where I was born and raised in the inner city. Faced with numerous uncertainties, I decided against all odds to press forward, get educated, and get a job so I can take care of my family. And, throughout this time, I have seen on the news, in communities, in the lives of our citizens, how this disease called corruption constantly shows up and destroys the future of many.
I am always amazed and taken aback at how our leaders stand by and turn a blind eye while many perish daily. Is it because our country is financially supported by corruption? I don't know.
The statistics I would like to see reported in the media is the positivity rate of those who have lost their lives due to corruption? We need answers.
Everyone knows someone, directly or indirectly, who has fallen victim to a system so corrupt that it cares nothing for justice.
Personally, I have been affected by these symptoms. Only in a corrupt system can my father lose his life, innocently, on his way home from work in a taxi.
Only in a corrupt system can the ones who have sworn to serve and protect open fire on a taxi, believed to be illegally operating, filled with passengers.
Only in a corrupt system can the ones involved in this shooting be acquitted of all charges.
Only in a corrupt system can you lose your life and no one is held accountable.
So who killed my father? We need answers. The judicial system has failed yet again. Prime Minister, great job handling COVID-19, but are you listening?
Our national anthem screams, “Justice, truth be ours forever,” and our national pledge declares, “I promise to stand up for justice, brotherhood, and peace.” Are these lines just blind rhetoric? Were they added just to make the sentences rhyme? We either need to change our attitude towards justice or we need to change our anthem and pledge.
Already, I have a strong suspicion that nothing will change as our Government continues to ignore the calls for justice. This is more than just a rant because my father died at the hands of the State with no recourse. This is a farewell statement to the hopes and dreams of a proud Jamaican citizen, who is saying I no longer believe in our system and I am no longer a proud Jamaican.
The epidemic of corruption has claimed the mental and physical lives of countless Jamaicans and has caused many to turn to crime in a bid to find justice. There is no more “true respect for all” as stated by our anthem. Our judicial system, along with many other State-run systems, does not work. Period.
Our heroes had to rebel to get justice and lost their lives to give us freedom. We have taken that freedom and squandered it by creating a corrupt system where the citizens have no voice.
I love this island but I am heartbroken to know that how others, internationally, see our nation — as one that is corrupt — is actually true.
While our Government fights the novel coronavirus and all its variants, and rightly so, will they be brave enough to stand and fight for justice? At this point I have totally given up on a nation so drugged by this disease of corruption that it can't even see that a lot of the other problems it is trying fruitlessly to solve would be easily rectified if corruption was tackled and justice was not only a word in a dictionary but a true action.
Prime Minister, are you listening?