Former contractor general wants tougher action against corruption, cites Guyana and Jamaica

(Jamaica Gleaner) Consultant and former Contractor General Greg Christie has proposed some tough measures to hit at the heart of corruption in Jamaica and other countries in the region.

Christie yesterday recommended the implementation of a national and regional system for certification, decertification, debarment and cross-debarment of government contractors who engage in fraudulent practices or who consistently fail to perform their contracts to required standards.

The tough-talking former contractor general is also suggesting that the Jamaican and regional governments require the public filing and disclosure of assets, income and liabilities for all parliamentarians, politicians and critical-level public officials.

Christie, who first recommended the establishment of a single anti-corruption agency in Jamaica with prosecutorial powers to tackle corruption, is now proposing the appointment of an anti-corruption Cabinet minister with responsibility also for ethics and good governance.

Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding last week tabled the Integrity Commission Act, which seeks to consolidate the laws relating to the prevention of corruption, and the award and monitoring of government contracts.

Christie was making a presentation at the University College of the Cayman Islands’ 2014 International Conference yesterday.

Speaking on the topic ‘Toward a Corruption-free Caribbean: Values, Ethics and Morality’, Christie drew on Jamaica’s anti-corruption model with reflections and lessons for the region derived from his role as contractor general.

NEED TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT

He noted that despite having what many have come to regard as one of the most robust anti-corruption architectures in the Commonwealth Caribbean, Jamaica is generally ranked as the most corrupt country within the region, second only to Guyana.

An attorney by profession, Christie argued that successive Jamaican governments and parliaments have failed to implement repeated recommendations which have been advanced to strengthen the effectiveness of the country’s anti-corruption institutional framework.

He commented that decisive and courageous leadership “to do what is right” was lacking in Jamaica as opposed to “what is politically expedient”.

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