Sun | Sep 20, 2020

US State Dept report slams Gov't for being soft on corruption

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

The United States has continued to raise alarm over what it describes as the "entrenched government corruption within some government agencies" in Jamaica, while also arguing that it remains a significant problem of public concern.

These and other issue were highlighted in the latest Human Rights Report on Jamaica, produced by the US State Department.

It also said the Jamaican Government has failed to effectively implement and enforce laws intended to punish corrupt public officials.

It notes that there have been reports of officials allegedly engaged in corrupt practice with impunity.

"Because of the Government's weak efforts to prosecute officials' alleged corrupt practices, corruption remained a significant systemic problem of public concern. Media and civil-society organisations continued to criticise the director of public prosecutions for being slow, and at times reluctant, to prosecute corruption cases," the report stated.

Last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared his administration's commitment to root out corruption with the support of international partners.




"Jamaica remains committed to cooperating with international bodies and other member states to combat corruption in the forms of bribery, international graft and organised crime. Organised crime affects us all and Jamaica is currently engaged at the domestic and international levels to find meaningful solutions to these issues," Holness said.

Highlighted in the report, however, was an acknowledgment of anti-corruption work being carried out by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency.

It said the agency arrested and charged six officials and 17 police officers with corruption during the past year, while the courts reached 39 convictions on charges brought by the agency through to October.

The report further highlighted that prosecutors charged a politician and businessman with forgery and obtaining $600,000 under false pretences.

Jamaica adopted the Lima Commitment on Democratic Governance against Corruption which reaffirms a commitment to anti-corruption treaties such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.