Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Letter of the Day | Bureaucracy causes corruption to thrive

Published:Tuesday | September 26, 2017 | 12:05 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Government seems oblivious to the fact that when there are too many complex processes to get everyday things done by the public, they will seek an easier way to have them addressed, and this eventually breeds corruption.

When deadlines that are given publicly for tasks to be carried out are missed and no one is held accountable or sanctioned, it tells us that the Government is not very serious about stemming ineptitude or possible corruption in the public sector.

When simple documents that can be printed or signed in five minutes are placed in waiting files to be completed and picked up four weeks later, it says to the public there is no urgency in addressing the needs of citizens.

Likewise, if a document needs to pass through several hands in order to get just one signature, devious and gullible persons along the pathway can, and, I dare say, will use those gaps to deliberately slow the process, to extort citizens and to build an empire of corruption benefiting themselves, while robbing the coffers of the State. The Firearm Licensing Authority is a case in point: too many uncalled-for hurdles, or too many points included in amassing all the necessary documents.

Let us look at a few ways that corruption has been facilitated over the years in traffic matters. If the fines were lower, no one would need to bribe police officers. If a person can pay a police $5,000 to avoid getting a ticket fine for $15,000, why wouldn't they? I know it is wrong, so, too, the police taking the bribe and the persons offering the bribe, but they are thinking about saving $10,000, which could be used for their rent.

Furthermore, if one could get a certificate of fitness in 20 or 30 minutes after driving on to the motor vehicle examination depot compounds, do you think anyone would need to pay any examiner or their associates 'a thing' in order to get their documents quickly to return to work, or beat the traffic on the pothole-filled roads to reach their next government time-wasting destination?

Government operatives working in the public sector need to bear in mind that persons have business to attend to, deadlines to meet, and budgets to live within. When you make life too difficult for the ordinary man to survive legally, all you're really doing is sending him to find an illegal way to make ends meet.

Knowing the public sector in Jamaica, there are more than sufficient ears willing to listen to the plight of persons and then cunningly offer them a quick illegal solution for a 'small cost'. Again, the Government and coffers of the country suffer all because of impractical laws, rules, or processes.

I'm suggesting an amendment, repealing or reworking of some archaic laws, impractical rules and laborious processes in many public organisations to make them more equitable, time-efficient, cost-effective, humane, reasonable and acceptable to the wider public. If they are not, corruption will continue to flourish.

JOSEPH EDWARDS