Highly Cor­rupt!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Jamaican be­lieves majority of pub­lic of­fi­cials are shady. The av­er­age Jamaican has no con­fi­dence in the coun­try’s elected of­fi­cials and civil ser­vants, with the belief that the majority are cor­rupt, ac­cord­ing to the re­cent Gleaner-com­mis­sioned Bill John­son poll. In a survey of 1,208 Ja­maicans, the av­er­age per­son re­sponded that 70 per cent of Ja­maica’s elected of­fi­cials was cor­rupt, 80 per cent of the po­lice force was cor­rupt and 50 per cent of gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees were cor­rupt.

Pro­fes­sor Trevor Mun­roe, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the an­ticor­rup­tion watch­dog group Na­tional In­tegrity Ac­tion, said he does not find this sur­pris­ing. “The Bill John­son poll re­con­firms the find­ings of sur­veys over the years that the av­er­age Jamaican be­lieves that a high per­cent­age of of­fi­cials are cor­rupt. And this opin­ion co­in­cides with the con­sid­ered as­sess­ment of Ja­maica’s New Na­tional Se­cu­rity Pol­icy, laid out in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in April 2014,” Mun­roe told The Gleaner yes­ter­day.

The pol­icy states that the cor­rup­tion of elected and pub­lic of­fi­cials is “a tier-one, high-prob­a­bil­ity, high-im­pact clear and present dan­ger” to the coun­try’s na­tional se­cu­rity. Mun­roe em­pha­sised that both the opin­ion of the pub­lic, as well as the con­clu­sion of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Pol­icy, de­mand that there be no fur­ther de­lay in the pas­sage of anti-cor­rup­tion leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing cam­paign fi­nance re­form and the es­tab­lish­ment of the In­tegrity Com­mis­sion with spe­cific power to pros­e­cute the cor­rupt.

Ad­di­tion­ally, he said, where there is cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion on the cor­rupt, par­tic­u­larly high-level fa­cil­i­ta­tors, it must be ex­pe­di­tiously con­verted into ev­i­dence, and per­sons, re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion or high-level con­nec­tion, must be brought be­fore the courts, tried with des­patch and if found guilty, sentenced to serve sig­nif­i­cant time in prison. “Cor­rup­tion and the links of the cor­rupt with or­gan­ised crime, drug-trafficking and mon­ey­laun­der­ing not only se­ri­ously un­der­mine na­tional se­cu­rity but se­verely ham­pers the prospects of Ja­maica achiev­ing eco­nomic growth with eq­uity,” Mun­roe noted.

“One ma­jor rea­son is, as the Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness Re­port 2014/15 has found, that cor­rup­tion, in­clud­ing favouritism in gov­ern­ment de­ci­sions, ranked as one of the most prob­lem­atic fac­tors for do­ing business in Ja­maica, thereby slow­ing down job-cre­ation, in­creased in­comegen­er­a­tion and im­prove­ment in our peo­ple’s con­di­tions of life.” In the 2013 an­nual Global Cor­rup­tion Per­cep­tion In­dex, Ja­maica was ranked 83rd out of 177 coun­tries, the same po­si­tion it re­ceived the year be­fore.

On the in­dex, a coun­try’s score in­di­cates the per­ceived level of pub­lic-sec­tor cor­rup­tion on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means that a coun­try is per­ceived as highly cor­rupt and 100 means it is per­ceived as very clean. While Ja­maica is ranked 83rd out of 177, its cor­rup­tion per­cep­tion is at 38 out of 100, which places it as very cor­rupt.

For the Bill John­son survey, con­ducted on Septem­ber 6-7 and 13-14 of this year, per­sons re­sponded to a three-part seg­ment on cor­rup­tion in Ja­maica’s pub­lic sec­tor. When asked ‘What per­cent­age of the elected of­fi­cials in Ja­maica, that is the mem­bers of par­lia­ment and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cil­lors, do you think are cor­rupt and shouldn’t be al­lowed to hold of­fice?’, the re­sults showed a me­dian of 70 per cent and a mean of 65 per cent.

For the ques­tion ‘What per­cent­age of the po­lice of­fi­cers in Ja­maica do you think are cor­rupt and should be fired?’, the re­sults gave a me­dian of 80 per cent and a mean of 72 per cent. While for the ques­tion ‘What about the rest of the gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees ... what per­cent­age of th­ese do you think are cor­rupt and should be fired?’, the re­sponse showed a me­dian of 50 per cent and a mean of 54 per cent.

The poll has a sam­pling er­ror of plus or mi­nus three per cent.anas­ta­sia.cun­ning­ham@glean­erjm.com

Pro­fes­sor Trevor Mun­roe, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the anti-cor­rup­tion watch­dog group Na­tional In­tegrity


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