Politicians Laughing at WE – NIS Funds, Transport Board, a Matter of Integrity
Submitted by Hamilton Hill
While listening to Sagicor’s Early Business Report on VOB some morning this past week I was startled by the news that the authorities in Jamaica had brought charges against three persons in that country for corruption. A business man, a police officer and a member of parliament–yes a sitting MP. According to the report this all came about through a traffic ticket, and a subsequent attempt to have it disappear. BARBADOS ARE YOU TAKING NOTE? This is what integrity legislation when enforced can do.
In an effort to breathe life into a transportation system that has long been a victim of political cronyism on both sides of the fence, government has again turned to its perennial cash cow better known as the NIS, and we who could very well end up on the short end of this deal have no voice as to whether or not it should be done. Why don’t we? The planks of protection embedded in Integrity Legislation are not in place. If there were this board would not have been made to operate in a climate where its failure is and has always been a foregone conclusion—where it pandered to its competition by way of the sale of its more lucrative routes, often times to friends and even family members of those in control of its very purse strings. Surely we can all remember the mini busses that covered the St.George area. Day and night they were packed to capacity, while the transport board’s were empty. For the most part they were owned by one person. One well connected person.
Through your mind’s eye take a look back into the past and see how both the Dems and the Bees used this board for political convenience. Superfluous positions were created just like they are at MTW and at NHC, without regard to their financial implications, and given to persons who saw themselves as untouchable based on their lineage; politically or otherwise.
As cash strapped as this country is we are about to throw thirty million dollars to an institution that as presently constituted can find no way to make restitution, and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. No one cares for here is where some get to collect a salary for doing absolutely nothing. Here is where conflict of interest means having an outside woman along with a wife. The steering of a contract to a business to which you or wifey is connected goes by another name. “We Turn Now.” Here is where everyone knows that by its design, deficit is this board’s destiny, and the public is certainly not the beneficiary of what little it may offer. Here is where anything goes, for nothing happens. In Jamaica a traffic ticket can bring you down. Here is where if you screw us, we lift you up.