Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Ronald Mason | It stinks

Published:Sunday | July 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

There are so many things happening concurrently in the Jamaican society and specifically in the body politics that there is a stench across the country. Persons who have been elected, persons who are identified with, and persons who have responsibilities for national sectors, have opened the cesspool and are wallowing therein.

The current Cabinet of Jamaica was involved in the $600-million vote-buying exercise for the local government election. The Office of the Contractor General had cause to review the related matter. A 425-page report was produced. The said report named members of this Cabinet regarding certain practices.

To date, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has not commented on the OCG Report. Others have told the country that they were found to have nothing negative to defend. They have played the country for fools. The monies were handled in questionable manner. However, the 'nine-day wonder' response was adopted. The people and their money be damned. It stinks.

The said present Cabinet has been dancing on the head of the proverbial pin as the members seek to carry out exemptions to the proposed integrity regime. Integrity in Jamaica is in very short supply. Just review the Corruption Index. Listen to the statements from those who comment on these matters. This is not the principal point.

 

NO TRUST FOR CABINET

 

The Cabinet does not enjoy the trust of the Jamaican people. If the Cabinet members can find a legal justification for their action which may benefit them and hurt the Consolidated Fund, we, the people, believe they will use it every time. The outcry at last, from the civic bodies, PSOJ, JCC, et al, may have an impact. "Todeh fe me, tomorrow fe yuh"; all at Jamaica's expense.

The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) was established by statute in 2005. It was created, organised, and staffed to take the authority for granting firearm licences away from the corrupt practices of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Information currently in the public domain raises serious questions as to the outcome of the FLA's current method of doing business, despite the fact that the enabling statute stipulates the required composition of the board.

The board fails to account for the fact that persons can play different roles simultaneously. Political affiliation, political association, political sentiments does not fit well with being any of the stipulated class of members, who should comprise the board, not even for a retired Supreme Court Justice.

The current deputy chairman, Mr Dennis Meadows has been an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate multiple times for the JLP. During the previous government administration, he was a very vocal front for the so-called civil organisation called 'CAPI'. He is used to wearing multiple caps.

It is also instructive that Robert Montague is also the minister with the portfolio responsibilities. The CEO, Shane Dalling is a former elected JLP Councillor and Dennis Wright, The chairman was a former candidate for the JLP in Eastern Portland. The overlap with the corruption from the Corrections Department relating to the dancehall don and contraband is also in Robert Montague's bag of tricks. It stinks to high heaven.

 

PNP Shenanigans

 

The PNP shenanigans in South West St Andrew smells. The party in its play on words seeks to allow outside influence in the form of the former leader of the party. Yes, she is former and retired and no longer member of parliament, having resigned from Parliament, but to facilitate, with tenuous claims at best, the party would seek to muzzle those who express opinions on the social media. The deafening silence from the current party leader leads to the questioning of the decision making capabilities going forward.

Jamaica needs to think long and hard about where we are going as a country and all the actions of these so-called leaders that results in increased misery for the population at large. Corruption in the society is so corrosive and no public person has been arrested and charged, much less convicted and sentenced.

Everyday we are told that these are our leaders; they are to be addressed as 'Honourable' and 'Most Honourable'. Undoubtedly, some members of our governance structure are persons who are barely acquainted with integrity. They do not stand out. Jamaica needs serious help.

We do very strange things like cut out user-fees and provide substandard health care and talk about the people are better off by 2.8 per cent. Three hundred babies wait for surgery, so even if the IDB provide the statistical cover for this shameful report, you must recall lies, damn lies, and statistics.

It stinks and it is not just the rotting garbage.

- Ronald Mason is an attorney-at-law and Supreme Court mediator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and nationsagenda@gmail.com.