Wed | Jan 16, 2019

UPDATED: Reject 'free-for-all' culture, says lawyer - Senior prosecutor lashes out at corruption, hustler culture

Published:Monday | December 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott

Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Taylor has come out strongly against acts of corruption and the "free-for-all" culture, which, he said, is pervasive in Jamaica, noting that regulations and restrictions are often frowned upon by the populace.

"In the Jamaican society of 2017, competence, diligence, and probity are qualities easily surrendered for the short-term gain or the shortcut to success ... ," Taylor said as he delivered the keynote address during the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) 20th Annual Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on the weekend.

The senior prosecutor urged that both the hustler culture and the free-for-all mentality be rejected, arguing that the two factors are often the drivers of corruption.

"I am counselling you against taking the easy way out and (warning) those who wish to take shortcuts and cut through red tape, (those) who don't follow procedure," Taylor said.

"It is the elevation of the free-for-all culture and the wholehearted pursuit of dishonest gains that one must be on guard against," he said to his audience, which included Phillip Paulwell, the opposition spokesman on energy, and OUR Chairman Joseph M. Matalon.

Taylor said that a regulatory agency such as the OUR faced great challenges in dealing with politicians and "deep pocket" executives who often complained the loudest about decisions made by the office in regulating various sectors.

"These sector regulations bring the office into contact with the commanding heights of the political executive, where your decisions can be labelled as attempts 'to mash up the prosperity' or 'stop the progress'," said Taylor.

Despite its naysayers, he congratulated the OUR for being "an equal-opportunity offender in its decisions".

Among the recipients of awards during the ceremony were Deputy Director General Maurice Charvis; Carolyn Young, director, administration and human resources; administrative officer Ingrid Brown Cripps; information officer Venetia Cooke; and messenger Shirley Stewart.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of the story stated that former OUR Director General J Paul Morgan and Joseph Matalon received awards at the OUR's awards ceremony. They, in fact, were down to hand out awards at the ceremony.)