Fri | Nov 27, 2020

Letter of the Day | Cutting corruption can lead to more growth

Published:Wednesday | July 24, 2019 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The root cause of our corruption problem is that too many repeat offenders get re-elected to our Parliament and municipalities.

In the court of public opinion a large majority of those who sit in our Parliament and municipalities would be now serving jail times if our criminal justice systems were just, swift, fair and free from the influence of the powerful.

It is really sad that the public has such a dim view of our elected officials. It is an open secret what the public is saying about them. You hear serious allegations such as “their hands are bloodier than a butcher’s knife” and “their fingers are stickier than a rat’s glue trap”.

It was quite interesting to see during the Opposition’s vigil against corruption the governing Jamaica Labour Party was running electronic advertisements showing a litany of alleged corrupt actions by the Opposition during their tenure as government.

Where’s the difference?

This is a clear indication by the Government that they, too, like the Opposition, are indeed corrupt. The trouble with what the Government would want us to believe is that they hold the reign of power and it is they who can ‘bell the cat’ of corruption and wipe it out once and for all.

The Opposition has all right to call out corruption. The Government cannot be hiding behind the compass of morality when the Opposition calls out corruption. Suppose our criminals who rob, maim and murder our citizens said the Government has no moral authority to pursue and prosecute them because the Government too, is corrupt.

We as a poor and struggling country cannot be losing 10 per cent of our GDP to corruption. Our health and education systems are in despair and in a decrepit state as officials plunder the public purse. If one measures the quality of life of our elected officials and those of the average citizen, one would have seen the glaring anomaly that exists.

If we cut corruption by 50 per cent we could equip all our hospitals with modern facilities, reduce crime by as much as 60 per cent, based on our 2018 GDP of US$15.7 billion.

Fernandez Smith

Former JLP Councillor

fgeesmith@yahoo.com