First Look

NIA Response to Minister Davies' Statement on IOP

National Integrity Action Limited | 2012-05-01 16:32:00


National Integrity Action remains convinced that more effective combat of corruption in Jamaica is critical to increasing levels of investment and requires, as a priority, the consolidation of the Corruption Prevention Commission, the Parliament Integrity of Members’ Commission and theOffice of the Contractor General into a single anti-corruption agency with investigative and prosecutorial powers alongside appropriate safeguards against the abuse of power.

 Towards this objective the NIA is currently in dialogue with the Minister of Justice and Opposition Spokesperson on Justice as part of a process of engaging all stake-holders in determining the best approach and the most appropriate design towards the urgent establishment of this Agency.

At the same raising levels of investment in Jamaica requires the expeditious cutting of red tape, reduction of bureaucratic delays as well as greater speed and efficiency in public administration.
The most recent Global Competitiveness Report ( 2011-2012) shows Jamaica further falling in rank to 107 of 142 countries as an investment destination. The Report identifies ‘ Ineffective Government Bureaucracy’ as the second and ‘ corruption’ as the fourth ‘ most problematic factors for doing business in Jamaica’.

Similarly, the Doing Business 2012 Report published by the World Bank shows Jamaica again falling in rank to 88 of 183 economies, not least of all because of bureaucracy.

Against this background while the objective of establishing the Independent Oversight Panel by the Minister of Transport to review the three infrastructure projects may be laudable, the IOP:

a)    Cannot significantly reduce bureaucratic red tape;
b)    Needs to have its terms of reference so clarified and/or amended  that it is absolutely clear that there is neither the  intent nor likely effect of duplicating nor undermining the functions of the Office of the Contractor General, the anti-corruption agency established by law to report to Parliament on improper or irregular award of Public Contracts.

From the DaCosta Commission (1973) to the Auditor General’s Special Audit into the JDIP (2011), with many reports in-between, political interference and/or lack of transparency has been documented as preventing the Jamaican people from getting value for money, as holding back the country’s economic development and as contributing to popular distrust of successive administrations, even when they declare the intention to uphold probity and to combat corruption in governance.

It is for this reason – in the interest of transparency, rebuilding public confidence and empowering the people with necessary information – thatthe NIA also calls on the Government to publish the documentation relating to the three infrastructure projects, namely:

1.    The MOU with CHEC regarding the North/South Link of Highway 2000;
2.    The Implementation Agreement along with the associated Concession Agreement between the GOJ and NROCC, China Harbour and the Jamaica North South Highway Company Limited.
3.    The non-binding MOU between the Port Authority of Jamaica and CMA/CGM regarding the South Terminal/Gordon Cay Container Transhipment Hub.
4.    The non-binding MOU with CHEC for the development of a Container Terminal at Fort Augusta and surrounding lands of Caymanas.
Barring compelling reasons which would need to be fully articulated, the people of Jamaica, on whose behalf these arrangements have ostensibly been entered into, have a right to know their contents as well as be brought fully into the picture in the interest of enhancing transparency and of reducing distrust.
April 29, 2012

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