Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
IN A parting shot, Contractor General Greg Christie has said Jamaica's dismal showing on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) continues to stick out as a sore thumb because successive administrations have paid little more than lip service to the fight against corruption.
In the last five years, Jamaica has consistently scored no higher than 3.3 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, where one is considered to be most corrupt and 10 as clean.
Christie argued that in spite of the country's outstanding achievements on the international stage in music, athletics, food and hospitality, "We have somehow managed to earn the indecorous label of being one of the world's most corrupt countries."
The tough-talking OCG boss' seven-year contract expires on November 30 this year. Christie had advised Governor General Sir Patrick Allen earlier this year that he did not wish to extend his contract.
"As contractor general, I must confess that I have become extremely despondent about the deafening silence of our leaders, both within and without the political divide, and the vacuous absence of the 'political will' that is now desperately required to decisively combat corruption in Jamaica," Christie declared in his final annual report to Parliament.
According to the contractor general, political will required the State, led by the government of the day, to take the requisite steps to ensure that good governance structures are compliant with international best practices. He said it also required the setting up of a comprehensive and independent anti-corruption institutional framework.
Emphasising the harmful effects of corruption on a society, Christie said it denied the poor access to basic entitlements such as water, electricity, roads, health care, housing and education.
Hitting back at his detractors who label him as "over-zealous or over-reaching", Christie said they were either misguided or unenlightened.
Christie contended that the fight against corruption was not a "ballroom dance", but a battle which could not be fought by the "weak or faint of heart".
"Likewise, the battle against corruption cannot be effectively led by leaders who are fearful or submissive, or who are reluctant to offend or to confront those who must be confronted."