(Jamaica Observer) Contractor General Dirk Harrison says that his office remains highly concerned about the high level at which corruption is perceived in the society.
He has also appealed for an effort to commence with educating the public on the perils of corruption, including at the post-primary educational levels and a resumption of teaching civics in schools.
“It is my considered view that enough is not being done to get to the root of the problem, and that surface remedies are being applied,” Harrison said in his latest report (2013) tabled in Parliament.
“Changing the society’s view of corruption has to be an aggressive and deliberate undertaking. The solution should not simply be putting measures in place to deter would-be perpetrators and where identified, have them face the courts,” he added.
He argued that corruption, for the most part, is “a matter of moral values and personal decisions taken for or against being morally and ethically upstanding”.
“That said, it is therefore important to appeal to the moral compass of each member of society,” Harrison stressed. “In this regard, it is imperative that ‘lessons’ and anti-corruption sensitisation commence in the schools at the primary level and continue through to the post-primary and secondary levels, while at the same time, sensitising the adult population through other media.” As such, Harrison said that he “strongly” supports the move to reintroduce civics in the school curriculum.
“It is my view that appreciation for and love of country through education, along with consistent sensitisation relative to corruption and its ill-effects, will serve to instill some amount of pride in each Jamaican and will also challenge each person to do the morally right thing when faced with choices,” Harris said in the closing remarks of the report.
“The truth is that it makes no sense for us to sit and wait on the other man to do the right thing. It ultimately starts with us doing the right thing and rejecting that which is not in keeping with our stated values. A ‘corruption-challenged’ person generally finds comfort in commingling with people of like nature. If such a person is hard-pressed to find someone else who embraces corruption, they will eventually seek to do the right thing.”