Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen said that he would like to stand by persons who are prepared to fight corruption in Jamaica when he addressed the Anti-corruption Conference organised by the Office of the Contractor General, Tuesday, March 9.
“I would like to stand by the person or persons who are prepared to be bloody and wounded in that fight – Jamaica needs some good men and women in that cause,” He said. He added that ” what we need is for people at all levels, to understand the real danger that corruption poses, and to be prepared to stand for a ‘true purpose’ in the fight against corruption, regardless of the cost.”
Sir Patrick said that societies develop a culture based on their way of life, a culture that could also work as a barrier to progress and so overtime people become indifferent to corruption which insidiously can become part of a culture of how things are done. “We have seen it in various aspects of Jamaican society where corruption has undermined development programmes and projects for the wellbeing of our people,” he stated.
Sir Patrick noted that the pervasive nature of cross-border corruption is a phenomenon which demands international collaboration for its effective reduction. This, he said, is critical within and among nations linked by migration and Diaspora populations, as well as significant commercial exchanges.
He added that despite the stated commitment of leaders in both public and private sectors and the laws enacted and the National Integrity Action’s excellent work and public awareness campaigns, the nation is still lagging in the fight against corruption.”In our fight against corruption we cannot be double-minded, nor should we become disheartened since it is the future of our country, of our children, which is at stake,” he said.
There are many Jamaicans, business and political leaders of integrity who can stand against corruption and according to Sir Patrick, “they understand that we cannot liberate our people from poverty, unless we eradicate systemic corruption which constantly makes some rich and others poor; some as high rollers and others as no rollers; some who can afford and others who cannot. He added that “when Jamaica’s leaders and followers unite in unrelenting action against corruption, they will hasten the attainment of our objective of social transformation and economic development and a fair, equitable and just society.”
The Governor-General said that he believes “that together we shall beat this monster of corruption.” He encouraged the nation’s Leaders to stand strong and be ready to lead by example. He called on the Office of the Contractor General and the National Integrity Action to stay faithful to their respective mandates and commitments; and the media to help foster a national psyche energized by the examples of our people who are committed to a culture of excellence. His charge to all the stakeholders was: “Carpe Diem- Seize the moment!”