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Leaders charged to build a just society

Published:Saturday | August 23, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Munroe

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Professor Trevor Munroe, head of National Integrity Action (NIA), has issued a challenge for leaders in Jamaica to do more to eliminate corruption and to create a fair and just society.

Speaking at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Portmore and Trafalgar New Heights, held at the Jamaica Employers' Federation's offices in New Kingston, Munroe said that too many persons continued to face injustice in Jamaica.

"Is our correctional and lock-up system fair to all concerned? We all sat by while the 2013-2014 Budget allocated a little over $110 million to maintain 70 lock-ups for 365 days, while $57 million was spent on a one-day grand gala. Where does our priority really lie?" he asked.

The NIA head also questioned whether the Jamaican Government was truly serious about reform when the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada have made practical moves to decisively deal with tax dodgers and tax cheats.

JA TOP TAX CRIMINAL UNKNOWN

"In 2012, the DPP (director of public prosecutions) in the United Kingdom indicated that the top-32 tax criminals were serving a total of 150 years in prison. In Jamaica, we don't even know who they are. They are getting away, withholding billions from revenue while every evening we see on our television screens the distress, the anguish, the frustration of people in the country who are not getting basic services," he said.

Munroe was however quick to point out that Jamaica has made significant strides which should be recognised.

"The system is not right and we must strive to make it better. However, we have excelled in so many areas, not only sports and music, but as it relates to the eradication of so many communicable diseases like malaria, we are very close to the top in health and wellness. Believe it or not, we rank above United States," he said.

"When it comes to press freedom we have certainly made significant strides and so though we are not where we want to be, let's not belittle our achievements," he said.