A high-ranking member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has proposed that the anti-corruption drive to weed out rogue elements within the police force be replicated across the entire public sector.
Senior Superintendent of Police Selwyn Hay, who made the suggestion on Monday, said this should take into account the level of vetting that is carried out, ethics and integrity training and the prosecution of those "who are found to be involved in corruption".
Noting that corruption is rampant "in all pockets of the society", Hay, who is also the deputy head of the JCF's Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), said any attempt to deal with it has to be an integrated approach.
Raise ethical standards
"You can't just clean up the police force alone and expect that corruption will go away," he said.
"And it is not only prosecuting because we try to tell our members that we are not here to just lock up police officers, we want to raise the ethical standards as well," he reasoned.
Hay and Deputy Superintendent of Police Oreth Dunkley recently returned to the island from the Republic of Georgia, a country that, like Jamaica, has grappled with high levels of criminal activity and perceived widespread corruption within the ranks of the police.
But Hay said over the last seven years the administration of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has implemented a number of bold initiatives that have resulted in a remarkable turnaround.
Fired 16,000 cops
These measures, according to Dunkley, included the enactment of legislation that targeted organised crime figures, the merging of all law enforcement agencies under one single ministry to streamline the process and a shift to more reliance on technology.
In one of the most drastic moves, Dunkley said the government of Georgia fired all 16,000 law enforcers who made up its police traffic department because they were believed to be very corrupt.
He said some were eventually rehired along with "young, bright" persons from local universities in a re-organised, re-structured force that relied more on technology.
The result, they said, is that Georgia, which was widely regarded as a failed State nine years ago, has seen a dramatic turnaround.
Hay said he was impressed with the transformation in Georgia and suggested that Jamaica could follow its lead in some areas.