Tue | Jun 25, 2019

Jaevion Nelson | When will our leaders take bold, decisive action?

Published:Saturday | February 9, 2019 | 12:57 AM

We do not truly deal with corruption in our country and we are not invested in doing so, either. Instead, our interest is in the politicking; cherry-picking what to talk about, strategising around how we can use whatever allegations of corruption there are as an opportunity to gain power and, of course, paying lip service with commitments which may never ever be actioned.

It’s unfortunate that this has been the modus operandi for quite some time. Interestingly, that it is costing us a pretty penny, and will no doubt continue to stymie prosperity and hinder the new economy for all working for all, does not seem to bother us much.

I asked these questions last June and they are, unsurprisingly, still of great import.

n Why is it that every year, administration after administration, we seem to be talking about and dealing with the same type of controversies related to corruption?

n Why do we continue to pussyfoot with addressing this issue?

n Are we not concerned about how our country’s development is being stymied as a consequence?

n Or does the party we support take precedence over the nation’s resources and welfare?

One wonders when one of our leaders will stand boldly to take decisive action and thereby leave a legacy for generations to come.

NOT THE USUAL NINE-DAY WONDER

The Petrojam scandal and the urgent need to put systems in place to mitigate the likelihood or corruption has brought the issue back into the spotlight. By now, it is abundantly clear that Petrojam isn’t one of those usual nine-day wonders. The citizenry is thankful.

According to Transparency International, the Petrojam scandal shows “nepotism, mismanagement of public funds and other forms of corruption are still well-rooted in the Caribbean.”

The unfortunate thing is, depending on how things go, people will resign (some may get a separation package), it may cause some people to lose their position, or topple the entire government, but the weaknesses in the system which allowed the discrepancies to happen will more than likely remain for someone to do it again.

Indeed, as someone said to me on Twitter on Thursday, “The system of governance is broken/outdated in almost every aspect of the Jamaican society, but when the system fails (as it’s bound to do), we play the short game and focus our outrage on individuals rather than the governance structure.”

I am delighted that we are talking about these issues, but we have to rid ourselves of certain tendencies if we want better. Our cavalier attitudes towards this matter – from the top to the bottom – which continue unabated is the very reason for this culture of corruption weh everybadi and dem muma and pupa see an bline hear an deaf.

We cannot continue to allow successive governments to tax us year after year after year to finance their inefficiency, waste and corruption, while we remain silent.

The tyranny of deafening silence in some quarters on social media, for example, is an intriguing expose into the hypocritical disposition of those who conveniently champion this issue, and is something we must eradicate.

Let us not allow our leaders to talk ad nauseam about doing something about corruption like the annoying talks that never end.

Jaevion Nelson is a human rights, social and economic justice advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and jaevion@gmail.com or tweet @jaevionn.