Why blow millions on Tivoli enquiry?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is of great concern to me as a citizen of this broke country that while we have hospitals without proper medical equipment, roads that have holes as big as pools, areas without roads, schools without toilet facilities, young people unable to afford school, persons who can't buy food, teachers on a wage freeze, and a country owing billions to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we can still afford to pay out a minimum of $260 million of our taxpayers' greatly sacrificed dollars.
How is it that anyone can try to justify giving one man more than $51 million to sit and observe other lawyers asking people questions?
The commissioner of this enquiry will inevitably be walking away from this process with something close to $57 million. Let me work my math for you.
According to the report, he gets $51 million plus an additional $3 million (approximately US$300 per night for three months' hotel stay), plus his future cell bill, let's say, $300,000, plus his security another $700,000, in addition to his three first-class flights to and from Barbados costing approximately another $1 million, plus another $1 million for transportation and sundry expenses.
Wouldn't it just be cheaper if they rented him a house, hired a professional Jamaican chef for him and housekeepers, plus security?
That would at the very least be benefiting a few of our citizens, providing an income for them for three months.
Not only does our Government feel like we can just pay the commissioner this outrageous sum, there are also two lawyers getting $43 million each, two junior lawyers getting $42 million, and the legal secretary getting $29 million (although it is ironic that the legal secretary, who will be doing most of the work for the three or four months, is the one getting the least amount of money).
Not to mention the millions it is costing to rent the building, possibly providing food and water and whatever else 'we can't afford for normal people'.
Then there comes the political bull of 'we're spending less than the last time'. Who cares? It was too much money then, and it is still too much money now!
Nevertheless, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will be using this opportunity to blast the Government on a wrong move and its disregard for citizens of this 'country that they love', but let's see, who were the ones pushing the Government into having an enquiry? Who was it that emphasised the need for the people of Tivoli to receive justice by way of this enquiry into what happened?
WELL SET TRAP
The Government, though, can have nothing to say to the JLP, as it was injudicious enough to listen to the advice and demands of the Opposition and unseeing enough to see this trap that was well set.
In my position as a concerned citizen of this 'poor country', wouldn't it be cheaper for the Government to give $2 million to each of the victims in Tivoli who received gunshot wounds and $1 million to the ones who were displaced or have other home damages or had to bury loved ones?
Wouldn't it be more pleasing and more logical to give the money to people who would, nonetheless, have to give back most of it to this very Government through taxes? Wouldn't it be more reasonable and worth a few million?
As a concerned minimally qualified citizen of this country, I am worried that I, who have yet to afford to complete a college degree, can see the wisdom and practicality of giving Tivoli residents compensation amounting to less than the $260 million-plus that we are spending for a man from another country to come here and sit and listen to these very people's complaints, alongside a few local commissioners.
Isn't it ironic that we will be too broke to compensate these people after giving away more than $260 million? Why spend $260 million to not solve a problem when we could spend $200 million or less to solve 150 problems?