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Frank Phipps | David Cameron: a paradox of corruption

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2016 | 5:07 AMFrank Phipps
Frank Phipps

The hypocrisy of a politician should not surprise anyone. Although action against corruption is long overdue for the problems in today's world, of all the persons taking offence at corruption, David Cameron is the wrong one to lead the charge.

His persistent refusal to accept responsibility for the suffering of others affected by corruption disqualifies him as fit to take the lead against the disease in any of its forms whether he is speaking with Her Majesty in private or hosting others condemning corruption.

On May 12, Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a landmark international anti-corruption summit in London. It was said to be the first summit of its kind, bringing together world leaders, business and civil society to agree a package of practical steps to:

l expose corruption, so there is nowhere to hide.

l punish the perpetrators and support those affected by corruption.

l drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists.

How does Prime Minister Cameron fit in this noble venture?

At the time of the summit, BBC carried a programme on corruption in its variety of ways tackling tax evasion and tax avoidance, bringing in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Cayman all British territories. The British prime minister is yet to be seen or heard checking on his wards for the anti-corruption provisions they have to ensure good behaviour, rather than turning a blind eye on what is taking place.

As prime minister of Britain, David Cameron has a strong voice in Europe, but he is never heard in that community condemning the most severe and long-lasting corruption in the history of mankind. That was the time when the people of Europe travelled to Africa and raped the continent: seized masses of people, transported them against their will, in horrible conditions, to a strange land; for those who survived the journey, to work in bondage, like cattle on plantations, for the captors to acquire the great wealth they enjoy.

The present overwhelming majority of people in the Caribbean are direct descendants of the offspring of the rape; they are the victims of involuntary and illegal extradition from their homeland, carried out by the greedy and morally corrupt people of Europe; their suffering in slavery and colonialism remains unrequited, without promise or expectation of redress for the atrocities perpetrated against them. And Prime Minister Cameron is conveniently dumb in Europe about this travesty of humanity.

Ironically, Europe is now in a state of panic over displaced people: How benignly to reverse the current mass migration of people to Europe seeking asylum; or, at least, compassionately provide accommodation for a limited number of refugees as the milk of human kindness for those in distress that is one face of Europe.

At the same time, Prime Minister Cameron leads the international conversation for exposing corruption, punishing the perpetrators and giving support to those affected by corruption, but hypocritically ignoring the plight of the displaced people in the Caribbean, where Europe bears heavy responsibility for their condition; this is the other face of Europe, a paradox of corruption.

Prime Minister David Cameron pays little attention to the problems of those affected by the corrupt practices of the British government during slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean. Slave owners were compensated for loss of property when slavery was abolished, but the slaves who had suffered more by the loss of their humanity, they received nothing, not even an apology up to now.

Prime Minister Cameron brought world leaders to an international summit to drive out corruption wherever it exists and give support to those affected by corruption; however, not surprisingly, the prestigious gathering of the committed takes no notice of slavery and colonialism to offer support to those who still suffer from the practice.

David Cameron should not be allowed to forget his family's complicity in the crime against humanity where they benefited from slavery in Jamaica; especially when their Queen, Elizabeth I, had condemned the practice and invoked a curse on all who partook in it

In secret conversation with Elizabeth, David Cameron points a finger at others involved in corruption - inveighing against 'the mote in his brother's eye, but does not consider the plank in his own eye'.

This is the constant hypocrisy of the politician. Great Britain's duplicitous attitude to corruption is the shame and embarrassment Prime Minister Cameron refused to face on his recent visit to Jamaica. The demand for reparation for the injuries suffered by human beings under British rule in the Caribbean will not go away. The corruption must be exposed, with no place to hide.

Without prostrating himself for truth and reconciliation for the evils of the past, the leader of the British people, a doyen in Europe, he has no moral authority to agree a package for eliminating corruption; or, indeed, take part in the great Brexit debate where Europe is deeply involved. This should be the mantra for politicians everywhere.

• Frank Phipps, QC, is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.