Fri | Jan 27, 2023

Bell the cat or face doom

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Jamaica enjoys significant media freedom but certain developments indicate that our public is not nearly as informed or proactive as it should be. Events leading up to and beyond the FINSAC debacle, the Cuban light-bulb issue, government contract awards, the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank of Jamaica and 'Dudus' affairs, appointments of police commissioners, and so on, show clearly that our leaders operate in a world unto themselves, making decisions that come back to cost and haunt us as a nation for decades.

Government must not be allowed to conduct the country's business invoking 'national security' whenever it suits them; nor to keep secret discussions and decisions that are rightly matters of public concern. We have a right to know the 'how', the 'who' and especially the 'why' of many issues that remain hidden until something nasty hits the fan. Only then do we hear splattering accusations of Nicodemus conspiracies, sweetheart deals and corruption. The people we pay to work on our behalf then emerge scurrying to cover their dirty tails and in the end taxpayers foot the bill.

Wracked by scandals

Our country is wracked by scandal after scandal. Billions of dollars are lost year after year and no one goes to prison for it. The Auditor General's Report points to a disaster that worsens annually. I will bet any money that the present FINSAC inquiry, like inquiries before it, will end up costing taxpayers heavily; with no blame apportioned, certainly no penalties imposed. And then its business as usual in Jamaica.

No matter how we complain the politicians and captains of industry will not overthrow this iniquitous system while they gain from it. Bruce Golding no longer champions constitutional change, now that he's in charge; just as Portia did nothing to end police barbarity, save giving a noble speech.

The first step to meaningful change is media exposure to all processes and persons involved in a public concern before it matures into corruption. This might mean TV cameras in committee meetings and courts, immediate public access to all relevant data, and rapid investigation by independent means when anyone cries foul.

We also want recall of all elected officials who don't perform. I know it's a lot to ask in our society where bread is superior to truth. But we have to bell the cat or we, the people, are doomed already.

I am, etc.,


St Catherine