Corruption holding us back- Charles
Commitment has come from the Government that greater focus will be placed on tackling corruption due to its key role in perpetuating crime and violence and causing low levels of economic growth.
During his address at the Commonwealth Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies' 3rd Annual Conference, held last Monday, state minister in the security ministry, Pearnel Charles Jr, stressed that the menace of corruption is holding the country back.
The conference was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston.
"This Government is focusing on the connections between corruption and crime, and the connection between corruption and growth. The Economic Growth Council has identified corruption as a significant retardant to growth and has made specific references to it throughout its recommendations in relation to improvement of citizens' security and safety," highlighted Charles.
He continued: "The problem of corruption in Jamaica, the perception that it is institutionalised and that it is prevalent in public procurement, and the general view that the country lacks the will to decisively and aggressively tackle the scourge of corruption, are positions that are grave concerns."
He stated that some progress is evident, but admitted that the Government cannot do away with corruption on its own, stressing that legislation alone cannot fix the problem.
"Legislation such as the Integrity Commission Bill, the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency Bill and the Plea Bargaining Bill, among others, send the right signal that we are moving in the right direction. I must reiterate that to be effective, addressing corruption cannot be only a government initiative. Everyone has a role to play. This Government is committed to securing life, opportunity, and prosperity for all Jamaicans. It therefore goes without saying that the menace of corruption must be dealt with in order to achieve our growth objectives.
"There must neither be a giver nor a receiver to facilitate corrupt transactions The behavioural and attitudinal patterns of all entities, as well as that of the individual citizen must, as a matter of necessity, not support or condone corruptions in any form. Strengthening of anti-corruption laws and institutions serve a critical role, however, there is clear precedent that legislation alone is not the answer," Charles said.