We must send a strong mes­sage against cor­rup­tion

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - CLOVIS TOON - BY Kim­berly Roach

It is more ev­i­dent that Ja­maica’s cor­rup­tion cul­ture is stink and per­me­ates all so­cial as­pects of our young society.

One in 10 Ja­maicans re­ported that they were sub­ject to cor­rup­tion in the past 12 months in 2017, this was re­ported by a LAPOP research con­ducted by The Univer­sity of the West In­dies in part­ner­ship with Van­der­bilt Univer­sity. In­ter­est­ingly, 97 per cent of those Ja­maicans also be­lieved that Ja­maican politi­cians are cor­rupt.

With the Petro­jam re­port on the tips of our tongues these days it is clear that Ja­maicans may have been jus­ti­fied in their re­sponse.

Don’t let us fool our­selves, no mat­ter how hard our mem­bers of the po­lice force work un­til they drop these days it is go­ing to take more than just their ef­fort to get crime un­der con­trol.

Over the years, we have to ad­mit that “we, the peo­ple”, need to in­clude our­selves in the crime so­lu­tion ar­gu­ment.

Shouldn’t we try harder to be our neigh­bour’s keeper? We need an hon­est dis­cus­sion on how we wish to take charge of our safety and se­cu­rity.

The re­cent news of re­turn­ing res­i­dents be­ing preyed upon by the wicked around us has stirred up ar­gu­ments as to what it will take to pull our heads from un­der the dirty wa­ters of crime and mur­der. The sto­ries are over­whelm­ing

As a coun­try, we are quite aware of what cor­rup­tion is and the cross-na­tional ef­fects and reach. None­the­less, cor­rup­tion is sadly a norm within our cul­ture and some­times we brush if off as “eat­ing a food”. By any es­ti­ma­tion cor­rup­tion caused Ja­maica many losses in our de­vel­op­men­tal in­dices. We must strate­gi­cally kill this cul­ture of cor­rup­tion if we are go­ing to be­come the de­vel­oped, First-world coun­try we talk so much about.

One of the rec­om­men­da­tions put for­ward to solve the cul­ture of cor­rup­tion is how we treat high-level cor­rup­tion. The best ex­am­ple of this is cer­tainly the very fresh Petro­jam case. The gross mis­man­age­ment of the in­sti­tu­tion led to losses to­talling many bil­lions. The cur­rent Gov­ern­ment needs to put its foot down by launch­ing an in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion and charge all re­spon­si­ble par­ties. The mes­sage must be sent that no one gets away with cor­rup­tion. This is an im­por­tant time within our his­tory, and if the next gen­er­a­tion should re­ject our his­tory of cor­rup­tion we must set a prece­dence now by act­ing hard on high-level cor­rup­tion.

Cor­rup­tion has long had its ef­fects on our society; con­se­quently, it is en­grained how we carry out nor­mal trans­ac­tions. The tax of­fice, over the years, has been known to be a cen­tre of cor­rup­tion for the small man try­ing to speed up his wait time for a sim­ple trans­ac­tion. The au­di­tor gen­eral should also be able to as­sess some of these in­sti­tu­tional pro­cesses and cre­ate a ‘non-cor­rup­tion zone’, where pos­si­ble. If caught com­mit­ting any form of cor­rup­tion there must be strong pol­icy and leg­isla­tive reper­cus­sions for of­fend­ers. We must be hard on all forms of cor­rup­tion, in­clud­ing cut­ting the line for any ser­vice.

Eq­uity, in­clu­sion and gen­eral poverty re­duc­tion de­pends on our fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with cor­rup­tion. I hope Ja­maica is fi­nally ready to re­ject this re­la­tion­ship so we can achieve the de­vel­op­men­tal goals we’ve set for our­selves. It is time now we send a strong mes­sage to our in­grained cul­ture of cor­rup­tion.

kim­ber­ly­[email protected]­mail.com

The fight against cor­rup­tion goes on in earnest.

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