Stealing or thieving anything, by any means, of any value, by any person from anybody, be it road accident victims, marine accident or aircraft accident victims, is a crime. It is a shameful act and must be condemned by all, and the accused person or persons must be brought to justice by giving them a fair and speedy trial and if found guilty, the sentence must befitting the magnitude of the crime committed.
Quite recently we read about the alleged disgraceful act after the Fly Jamaica aircraft crash landed at the airport. Then we read about the disappearance of the money entrusted to teachers at a school; then there was the turbocharger that went missing from the engine at the Power House at Mabaruma, a location that is expected to be manned or secured twenty four hours per day. The question is being asked how and why these grossly dishonest acts are happening. But the answer is that over a period of about twenty-five years, we have cultivated a culture of dishonesty, and a loss of pride and dignity.
One writer places the situation on a lack of employment and low wages and salaries. I would say that is utter nonsense. The last group of persons I aforementioned, all of the accused persons were employed, and on the other hand, they were persons whose earning, minus allowances, is in excess of $600,000 per month and they are accused of committing crimes to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
We must not forget the Petro Caribe money, the numerous contractors that are being overpaid and are reluctant to repay the money that may have mistakenly or wrongfully received, and this list does not include the many who knowingly do substandard work, by using inferior and less material. These are all acts of gross dishonesty, and all of those persons I have mentioned are not poor people.
Stealing at any level, and dishonesty must not be condoned, and must be vigorously condemned by all, but at times we nail the poor to the cross, and garland, idolize and glorify the rich and powerful.
It is beyond the comprehension of the right thinking person, why those of our professionals, doctors, lawyers, engineers and others are not paying the tax that is required by law, and why most of our law makers are not declaring their assets a requirement by law. Why a large number of employers are deducting money from workers and not remitting same to the N.I.S.
All these are acts of dishonesty that must be condemned by those at the top using strong language, but there is a deafening silence when these white collar crimes are committed.
N.I.S. must publish a list of the names of the defaulters. You can’t help but feel sorry for the workers who would have qualified for pension, but because of their employers they could not receive what is due to them.
This current administration is taking steps to reduce the level of corruption unlike the previous government, but a lot more needs to be done. The foundation for corruption was constructed by the previous government, and it will take some time to destroy or dismantle. We must use the same lens and language when a crime is committed by the poor and less fortunate and when it is committed by the rich and powerful.
Archie W. Cordis
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