Tue | Nov 28, 2023

Whistle Blower Act needs strengthening – Robinson

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2022 | 12:07 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

Much more needs to be done to embolden persons working in the public sector to call out corruption whenever they come up on it during the course of their employment, according to Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson.

In addressing the recent Public Bodies Corporate Governance Awards at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, Robinson delivered this charge to the public servants in attendance.

“I ask you, as you continue to do your work, to be guardians of integrity in the public sector. We need to do more to ensure that the issues of good governance become the de facto standard throughout the public sector. There is clearly more that has to be done. There are pieces of legislation that need amendment ... that make it easier for persons who see incidents of corruption and report it.

“For example, the Protective Disclosures Act, which is known as the 'Whistle Blower Act', is a piece of legislation that is severely underused. In the past five to 10 years, I don't think we have had five or 10 disclosures using that piece of legislation. We have to make amendments so that you can do it anonymously, so that people feel protected. I believe this grouping represents the best of what we have in the public sector and can transform Jamaica into a society that we need.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke disclosed that Jamaica is quickly recovering from the pandemic and showing strong economic recovery, as evidenced by the fact that jobs are back to pre-COVID levels, and economic output has been rising rapidly and is projected to surpass pre-COVID levels.

He also advised that persons desirous of serving on boards of public bodies must apply via the electronic application form, which will be opened to the public in January 2023.

“The Ministry of Finance has engaged consultants, and the electronic application form for inclusion in the data base of prospective directors is expected to be ready, available and online in January of 2023. If you are not in that database you will not be eligible to serve on the board of a public body,” Dr Clarke warned.