Devon Dick | Politicians as ‘biggest crooks and criminals’
Politicians were called the 'biggest crooks and criminals' in Jamaica by Lloyd B. Smith, publisher, politician and apparently a prophet. This voice clip was on TVJ's newscast last Saturday. Smith is the publisher of Western Mirror, the leading localised newspaper in the west. People who work in the media have credible information about nefarious activities that cannot easily be translated into a court case. In any case, The Gleaner has long styled the two political parties in our Parliament as the Gangs of Gordon House. Therefore, much credence has to be given to what Smith is claiming.
Furthermore, Smith is in a unique position, having ran on the ticket of both major political parties, and has served as member of parliament and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives. He knows political runnings and is versed in politricks.
Finally, Smith is exhibiting features of a prophet. Smith is a Baptist, and Baptists such as National Hero Sam Sharpe spoke out against the injustices. Smith labelling politicians as 'biggest crooks and criminals' was not a confession but wanted to confront the corrupt politicians. However, it can be asked why he ran and why he ran away from fighting the evil system from within. Was he afraid for his life?
In any case, Smith supported his position that politicians are the biggest crooks and criminals by citing the example that politicians enter politics poor, but after a few years are very wealthy without any known source of income. This is a very disturbing observation because there is an Integrity Commission to handle such dishonesty. Furthermore, politicians are required to declare their assets annually. Apparently, there is a loophole or loopholes.
Follow Golding's example
Perhaps our prime minister could take a leaf out of former PM Golding's book and make a dent on corruption. The PAC and PAAC, committees of Parliament, are the brainchild of Golding with intent to monitor expenditure after the event and during the event. In addition, the contractor general is another Golding masterpiece. What we need now is a special counsel similar to the one in the USA who is going at persons who depress their income to avoid taxes, inflate their assets to garner bigger than deserved loans, and having offshore accounts to evade taxes. If it is happening among the political class in the USA, why do we think it is not happening here? Additionally, all cabinet ministers should be required to declare to the public their annual tax returns because they have oversight for billions of dollars.
It seems that something is very wrong with the political class as a system in our efforts to combat corruption and crime. How else can you explain the report in Sunday's Gleaner about Major Saunders, retired chief of staff, who is credited with doing an excellent job in the fight against crime in St Kitts. Why was he not successful in Jamaica? Obviously, there is a lack of political will to resource and support the security forces.
There is an ethos of fear in society, as evidenced in jurors in the Vbyz Kartel murder case having to change identity and living in fear under a witness protection programme. In addition, the Jamaican Bar Association needs to state whether a former minister of national security had the power to establish a committee to arbitrate on the decision of the Firearm Licensing Authority's review panel.
As folk wisdom tells us, 'if fish deh a river bottom an tell yu seh alligator have gum boil, believe him!' Listen to the experienced and knowledgeable voice of Lloyd B. Smith.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.