Fri | Nov 27, 2020

Letter of the Day | Corruption, justice and equality

Published:Friday | May 31, 2019 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

As we listen to the news to hear the latest on the ongoing scandals plaguing the Government and the country, it leaves a feeling of hopelessness as it relates to corruption. Since I can remember, every Jamaican Government has been embroiled in some sort of scandal. Though they may differ in types, in most cases, if not all, they stem from corruption.

The revelation of a scandal is very entertaining to watch and discuss, especially after it has been sensationalised by the media. But when one really stops to think about how long politicians have been mishandling the affairs of the county, we must ask ourselves, when will justice start applying to those in positions of power? It goes right back to the issue of the lack of equal rights and justice.

I have been a civil servant for the past eight years, and I have seen colleagues being sent on interdiction for fraud allegations, sometimes asked to resign, and some even dismissed, depending on how serious the allegation is. Most of these cases relate to amounts that can be considered ‘chump change’ when compared to amounts mentioned in government scandals. However, even though the amounts are significantly less, the perpetrators, or alleged perpetrators, are treated with far more seriousness.

I am by no means defending any civil servant who has committed any crime, however, it would be good if politicians were treated the same way that a regular citizen is treated when they are found to have cost the country due to fraud or even negligence. The same way we must sit and watch our colleagues being escorted from their workstations in handcuffs because they have committed a fraudulent act, is the same way we should see politicians and other high-level public officials being escorted from their offices in handcuffs. Then we will believe that our country is heading in the right direction where justice is concerned.

POLITICAL TOOL

When a regular civil servant is accused of fraud, whether innocent or guilty, their life changes dramatically. If they are dismissed, they are blacklisted and not able to be employed to any government agency again. However, when a politician or high-level public official is accused of corruption, they are transferred to another ministry, or they are asked to take a back seat for a while, until the issue blows over.

The babbling about scandals and arguing about which administration is more corrupt has become nothing more than entertainment and a political tool used to gain mileage.

Until the Government and the Opposition stop the showmanship and make some serious steps to tackle the classicism and elitist mentally that is currently hindering justice from being served on any individual who commits a crime, despite how far up they are on the social ladder, we will forever be a corrupt nation.

GARTH THOMPSON

thomot2@hotmail.com