Jamaica Gleaner / Every effort must be made to effectively enforce the nation’s anti-corruption laws if Jamaica is to successfully free itself from the death grip of corruption, said Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips.
Pointing to the fact that the perception of Jamaica as a corrupt nation has increased in recent years, Phillips lamented the apparent disregard for existing laws and rulings made by anti-corruption bodies such as the Office of the Contractor General.
Phillips was speaking at the Karram Speed Hall, St Andrew, graduation of 434 community leaders and key actors who participated in a training programme mounted jointly by National Integrity Action and the Council for Voluntary Social Services. The graduates are trained to engage in the national fight against corruption.
Noting that Jamaica had slipped 14 places in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Phillips said that there were too many instances where there were reported breaches, certified, for example, by the contractor general, where no action was taken. “There are persons in breach of the Parliamentary Integrity of Members Act, but no prosecutions ensue. This is a situation that must be corrected with some urgency because it not only threatens the legitimacy of the political system as people lose confidence in the integrity of their national leaders, but it spreads an even more disturbing phenomenon, which is a general acceptance that corrupt behaviour is normal,” he said.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that all efforts for economic and social advancement and to arrest the spiralling crime rate are being undermined by increasing corruption at all levels of the society.” Phillips said.
“The situation is not going to be helped by merely talking about it. We must lead by example and activism. This means starting at the top. It hardly helps when there is no response to reports of rampant corruption at the highest levels,” Phillips argued.