Sun | Mar 29, 2020

Corruption should not be rewarded

Published:Monday | February 11, 2019 | 12:18 AM


Gleaner cartoonist Las May nailed it in his cartoon of February 8, where the Petrojam scandal relay was in full swing, with Andrew Wheatley passing the ‘portfolio’ baton to a sweaty and panicky Andrew Holness.

In the cartoon, the newspaper on the ground read ‘Corruption reward for Petrojam bosses’.I am puzzled, even vexed, about the J$9.2-million severance payout to former Petrojam HR Manager Yolande Ramharrack and J$7.2 million to former GM Floyd Grindley.

Both were terminated due to multiple breaches that screamed corruption and incompetence, and which suggest they were never qualified for their jobs.Their dismissal was inevitable and they were entitled to severance, but this should’ve been limited to a few months pay, given that their years of service did not add up to much. This should not have tallied over J$16 million combined, with the former HR manager raking in millions more than her boss, the former GM, which hardly makes any sense.

Ramharrack’s settlement (unlike Grindley’s) also included a bizarre non-disclosure agreement (NDA). These are public funds, managed by a public agency; it is puzzling what secrets the former HR manager could disclose!NDAs have no business in the public sector, where public funds and resources are being managed; corruption should never be rewarded or covered up. Transparency is key!

Although the PM now says he is willing to review the removal of NDA clauses from settlements in the public sector, he is late; he is also the minister responsible for these settlements.The only consolation is knowing that the State retained more than 50 per cent in deductions in Ramharrack’s case, but the NDA is still troubling.

We know that Jamaica’s corruption ranking is falling; we dropped to 70 out of 180 countries on the international index and next year could be worse. We can’t be too shocked that scammers are rampant around us, given the levels of corruption we see in Government and how they carry on, without shame!