Enforce the Anti-Corruption Laws, says Phillips
KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 12, 2017: The President of the People’s National Party (PNP) and Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips says that every effort must be made to effectively enforce the nation’s anti-corruption laws as the only way to successfully free Jamaica from the death grip of corruption.
Dr. Phillips was speaking at the Karram Speid Hall, St. Andrew graduation of 434 community leaders and key actors who participated in a training programme mounted jointly by the National Integrity Action (NIA) and Council for Voluntary Social Services (CVSS). The graduates are trained to engage in the national fight against corruption.
Pointing to the fact that the country has fallen 14 places in its ranking in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index in recent years, Dr. Phillips lamented the apparent disregard by the Andrew Holness led-administration to existing laws and rulings made by anti-corruption bodies such as the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).
Dr Phillips said there are too many instances where there are reported breaches, certified by the Contractor General, where no action is taken at all. “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.”
The Opposition Leader pointed out that corruption has taken over important public services such as with the motor vehicle examiner’s division, law enforcement and other critical agencies of the state. This, he says, helps to destroy the basic fabric of trust which is essential to any progressive society.
“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,” he lamented.
“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 from the highest levels,” Dr Phillips argued.
Dr. Phillips hailed the training programme conducted by the two charity organizations and said the transformative value of this approach can be seen in what has been achieved by the partnership forged by the Church and the NIA in Spanish Town.
In commending the graduates, Dr Phillips said recent successes in August Town show what communities can be mobilised to do to advance their own interests through community action.