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Christie says corruption blocking investments

Published:Thursday | June 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

FORMER CONTRACTOR General Greg Christie is arguing that if there are obstructions to investments in Jamaica, "it is the Government's refusal to submit to the rule of law and best practices in good governance" that is the cause.

Christie made the comment on his Twitter page shortly after an article was published on www.jamaica-gleaner.com in which Attorney General Patrick Atkinson was quoted as saying Jamaican authorities should avoid the use of "obstructive bureaucratic methods" in the fight against corruption, and should instead search to find ways to eliminate corrosive practices.

Contributing to the 2014-2015 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday, Atkinson said it was important that the country's Constitution and laws be enforced, "but they must first be correctly interpreted".

The attorney general, who is the legal adviser to the Portia Simpson Miller-led Cabinet, also said "we must never allow our laws to be misinterpreted to create obstructions and bureaucratic difficulties in the path of growth".

"It is true that corruption exists and we all have a vested interest in wiping it out ..., but to achieve these ends, we must employ appropriate and modern law-enforcement strategies, and not use obstructive bureaucratic methods, which avoid dealing with the corruption and instead set up obstructions to doing business," Atkinson said.

Eliminate corruption

He further said, Jamaica "must search and find the way to eliminate corruption while we expedite urgently needed business projects in the country".

Atkinson's comments come against the background of major disagreements between the Cabinet and the Office of the Contractor General on the interpretation of procurement-related laws.

But Christie said "beyond promises made, there is nothing that the Government has done to send a persuasive signal that it is serious about fighting corruption".

"Indeed, the signals that the Government has sent suggest that it lacks the political will and courage to ... to fight corruption," Christie added, on Twitter.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com