Contractor General Greg Christie recently lamented the lack of will on the part of Jamaican Authorities to once and for all effectively clean up the mess of the awarding of public contracts.
“Make no mistake about it. The problems and the challenges that I have sought to overview with you… which have confronted the OCG and me, will persist as long as the OCG’s many remedial recommendations continue to be ignored,” he said.“They will remain with us until and unless the OCG is granted independent criminal investigatory powers, independent prosecutorial powers, police powers of arrest, and the power to halt or to regularise a government contracting process that is exhibiting the signs of corruption, impropriety or irregularity.”
Andrew Holness Jamaica’s young Prime Minister has a momentous but not insurmountable task ahead of him, he could start by looking at the suggestions of Contractor General Greg Christie, and immediately move to enact these suggestions where practicable into law, I mean whats the problem with honesty and integrity? Holness has begun by asking the leader of the opposition to walk with him through garrison communities ,a symbolic move Holness feels will go a long way in beginning the dismantling of zones of political exclusions. As noble as that call is I would prefer to see substantive actions enacted into law that will strengthen the hand of this and future Contractors General in going after entrenched corruption in the handling of public funds. This move will not be easy,there are many people in high places in Jamaica who benefits from taxpayers funds through the awarding of contracts,many are high-profile donors to both political parties, but many more are criminals that support the parties. Contractor General Christie and his staff has received numerous death threats for daring to stand up and fight for our country.
Greg Christie does not ask for powers to stoke his ego,as some in some new Agencies seem to think their position was created for,this Jamaican has demonstrated the willingness and character necessary to turn around the endemic culture of graft , nepotism and corruption that obtains in the country.
Andrew Holness begins serving as Prime Minister, with a year left before Parliamentary Elections are constitutionally due. He can make big bold steps , or try to fool the crowd with cheap posturing while maintaining the status quo, in which case he would be following his mentor Bruce Golding out the door. There is nothing hard in pushing legislation that protects the Jamaican people, whats hard is my inability to understand why this has not been done.