Sat | Sep 18, 2021

Corruption should be criminal

Published:Friday | March 22, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Until we make politicians criminally responsible, I don’t believe we will ever get rid of corruption in this country. Exposing them or forcing them to resign is just not good enough. The speed at which minister of education Ruel Reid resigned as minister and senator is telling.

Minister Reid professes to be a man of God and goes to great lengths to preach the gospel and share his faith. The allegations, if true, therefore, raise very serious questions about his morals, ethics, and competence. I fully agree with the PNPYO leader Krystal Tomlinson that there would also be concerns about his competence as Justice of the Peace.

Although we have not heard the full details, there is a news story concerning former Member of Parliament Othniel Lawrence who was paid $5.5 million under a questionable contract to serve as adviser to the head of Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).

I must ask, what are Mr Lawrence’s special skills and qualifications which made him competent for the role of university adviser since April 1, 2018? And how does this align with the competence of the head of CMU, Professor Fritz Pinnock, who holds a doctorate degree? Was Prof Pinnock aware of this adviser role within his ranks? Was the payment made by minister Reid to compensate Lawrence for resigning his seat which facilitated Reid to assume the role of caretaker? Was PM Holness ignorant of all this?

Those who claim that the People’s National Party had its share of corruption and, therefore, shouldn’t speak up, need to stop the nonsense.

This is not about party lines, it is about demanding good governance with full accountability, transparency, ethics, and moral decency. The electorate deserves a certain level of respect; most do have some common sense.

The Opposition party must stay on top of these matters, which tend to disappear in the media after a few days of news headline. They must not allow the news to get shoved under the ‘cyaapet’ we hear the PM is rolling out under the banner of prosperity!