Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 6, 2009
Home : Letters
Jamaica: tainted by corruption

Danville Walker, commissioner of customs. - File

The Editor, Sir:

The recently concluded auction at the Queens Warehouse and the resultant outcry are nothing new. A country which is tainted by corruption from top to bottom is unlikely to see transparency and just action even when the activity is concluded on behalf of the State. Whether we want to play deaf ears, whether we want to believe it, the fact is Jamaica is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

This corruption is prevalent in almost all aspects of our life and culture.

When the British governed this country, the corruption started by contracts being given to those of similar colour in industry, construction and the sale of goods and services. By the time we were granted independence the control of the country by Jamaicans saw corruption taking on a different twist.

Beneficiaries of corruption

The different governments right, left and centre which were elected rewarded those who supported and financed them. Nothing much was given to those decent folks who voted just because they believed in the policies of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) or People's National Party (PNP). The beneficiaries of corruption were those actively involved in supporting the parties or those who financed elections.

Lest we forget, even in the 1970s state funds were abused and misappropriated. Gullies and schools were not built although, on paper they were said to have been completed and hence millions by today's value could not be accounted for. Guilty and accused were indicted, but nothing came out of it and today's children and present generation are enjoying the spoils of corruption.

Then they were those who should have upheld the laws but put politics in policing. So, the police force also became tainted. In the 1970s with ganja production vibrant in central Jamaica, the police also became involved in transporting and protecting the peasantry involved in marijuana production. In fact, a significant number of police personnel reportedly wanted to work in south St Ann - all because that was the golden cradle of marijuana cultivation. The 1980s and '90s saw a turn for the worse as hard drug purveyors were now friends of many policemen.

Today, we have corruption in a motley of ways. Among them, captains of industry, especially those with majority shares and those in directorships manipulating the activities of shares whether a rights issue is to occur or dividend be declared. Ask any person who works at the large auditing firms and they can tell you how corruption is concealed and executed by ethnic minorities and power brokers.

'Let off' some dollars

Corruption has seeped down to the masses, so that you cannot get certain things done by civil servants unless you 'let off' some dollars. Corruption has even reached our Immigration Department so the truth is you have currently in Jamaica, numerous nationals, especially from south east Asia doing business and residing in Jamaica untouched. So how is Danville Walker going to insist that the Customs Department is above board? The nature, soul and heart of corruption dwells there.

Ask anyone who works at the wharves or the industrial belt nearby and they will tell you going to an auction by Customs is frustrating. They will tell you that they are never enthused or even interested going because they know what the results are like. The situation is already set.

I am, etc.,



Kingston 5

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