18 Feb Sen Lambert Brown To The State of The Nation Debate: Fear of Corruption
FEAR OF CORRUPTION
During this Fiscal Year our country fell 14 places on the recent Transparency international index on corruption. This is a major cause for worry and fear. Much work was done by the previous administration to improve our standing in this important index. Investors measure countries by how transparent we are in our business dealings.
We are told that the rejection of advice from the OCG on a matter re spectrum licence may have played a role in this precipitous fall in our standing on this anti corruption index.
The OCG is a commission of this Parliament. It must be shown respect. Its recommendations must be seriously considered and reasons given for rejection of same where its report to Parliament does not find favour with the Parliament. It cannot be good for our democracy or the fight against corruption when an individual, criminally charged for obstructing and not complying with the instructions of the OCG, is appointed by the Cabinet to be the chairman or the deputy chairman on at least five Boards which are to be monitored by the OCG.
What message are we sending to the public by doing this, whilst that individual’s case is still pending in court?
Is it disdain for the OCG? Is it disrespect for this valuable commission of Parliament? I call on the said Individual to resign from these boards pending the outcome of the criminal case of obstructing and failing to comply with the OCG. Our anti corruption fight is also diminished when the Cabinet appoints to head several Public Sector Boards, an individual whom the OCG, in a report to Parliament, recommended “that appropriate steps should be immediately taken to ensure (the named individual) is barred from serving on the Board of Directors of any Public Body in the future.”
There was no explanation as to why this recommendation has been ignored by this administration. Jamaica deserves an explanation. Until then I call upon the individual to resign his chairmanship of those Public Bodies.
Unless this is done the fear is real that we will continue to slide in the fight against corruption and the dreaded corruption perception index will continue to proclaim us guilty.