THE EDITOR, Sir:
IT IS EASY to understand why Jamaica is drowning in debt when you look at the stewardship being offered by our leaders. For apart from the annual Auditor General's Report which records waste and corruption year in year out with little attempt from the powers that be to give us better value for money, there are, in our face, many agencies and highly paid persons being supported by the overextended taxpayer, who would not survive a year in countries that take performance seriously.
The most visible at this time is the Office of the Public defender, led by Earl Witter, which has cost the country in excess of $300 million in three years, but which leaves us searching desperately to find any value to justify its existence.
Long before the failure of the public defender to meet any of the six deadlines set by him to present the Tivoli Report, I have been questioning where the findings of the regular investigations announced on television by the public defender into almost every public issue are.
The Public Defender's office is supervised by parliament, but has our parliament had the type of track record to give them the moral authority to demand performance from any agency? I think the answer is obvious to all.
SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE
The question I am being forced to ask today, however, is: 'How can a government in all conscience cut jobs in the public service when they refuse to do anything about non-performers like the expensive Public Defender's office and a redundant parish council system?' What kind of message are we sending to the younger generation when an office which has cost taxpayers in excess of $300 million in three years has so little to show for it?
While some would like to crow, lack of performance by the public defender has straddled both political parties which have formed the government in recent times.
I am here to tell Jamaica that if we get a complete write-off of all our debts tomorrow, in a few years we will be exactly where we are today, based on what we as taxpayers tolerate as performance from those holding elected or appointed office.