Wed | Jan 19, 2022

Prevention is better than cure

Published:Monday | February 25, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Jamaica is a reactionary as opposed to a preventative country. For a major entrenched traditional problem, even one that has existed for 10 years or more to be solved, that problem must first reach the brink of destruction – usually via the ugly vehicle of theft, bribery and/or acquiring funds illegally, defined as corruption – and its widespread media exposure thereof.

For instance, had the years of corruption that took place at Petrojam not reached a breaking point, it would likely have continued for many more years to come. Likewise, had past major scandals, namely, Operation Pride, Netserv and Trifigura, not reached the brink of disaster, they would have likely continued unabated.

Why weren’t the proper, necessary and strong mechanisms put in place, in the first place, to prevent the aforementioned illegal acts from happening, and, in the second place, before they each reached breaking point? It seems to me that Jamaica’s laws against corruption have failed, and miserably so, to prevent decades of one corrupt act after the other by public servants.

What is desperately needed in Jamaica are meaningful mechanisms to prevent acts of corruption from taking place so that a reactionary remedy won’t be necessary.

In Jamaica, robot taxi drivers break traffic laws on a daily basis; traffic policemen take bribes from motorists they’ve stopped due to the latter breaking one or more traffic laws; politicians, on both sides, seek clever ways to benefit from government contracts whenever their party is in power.

As the oft-uttered saying goes, prevention is better than cure. It still is, even in Jamaica.

Patrick Gallimore