The paucity of Jamaican politics

I wouldn’t call myself a revolutionary, though I’d have little trouble being called a radical. Friends have said things like “You should get into politics”; I’ve always resited the urge. I do not see myself as an animal in the sphere of local or national politics.

In any given week, I read or hear really disturbing stories about what poltiicans havew been accuesed of doing. I am just going from memory, regarding this week, and acknowledge that some of the allegations are yet to be proved. However, many of them have been circulating for decades, and you know what they say about no smoke without fire.

In the UK, the most disturbing has been the revelation that the Cabinet of the Thatcher government in the mid-1980s covered up a VIP ring of paedophiles, including top politicians. Information suggests that the then-Home Secretary (aka Minister of Internal Affairs in many countries), Leon Brittain, did little to advance inquiries.

The current crop of MPs seems determined to get to the bottom of this 30 year ‘mystery’.

In the USA, we have heard about yet another case of corruption involving a prominent politician. The New Jersey Senator, Bob Mendez, is due to face criminal corruption charges, alleging he used his office to push business interests of a Democrat donor and friend, in exchange for gifts.

Interestingly, these two countries are not ranked high (low) on measures of corruption, yet, here we have major legal issues concerning lawmakers coming to the fore. By contrast, Jamaica, which ranks down there with the more corrupt, has yet to have any major case brought against sitting polticians. What does that suggest? To me, it’s clear that our system is highly corrupt. It defies belief that with such high perceptions of corruption, no cases can be brought to court. Without pointing fingers at any person, the system has rallied around itself to protect itself.  The nearest we’ve had in the past two years was the corruption charge levied against Government junior minister, Richard Azan, by the Office of the Contractor General; he who resigned his post in 2013 and then after a short period was reinstated to his ministerial position. A few weeks ago, an alleged corruption case against an opposition politicaian, Daryl Vaz, ended with his pleading not guilty and then being freed, after the prosecution offered no further evidence against him.

We have a justice system that seems to struggle when it has to mete out justice to people who are in powerful political positions. I would say there’s plenty wrong with a country that has our ranking on corruption indices but also has the image that the privileged politicans are privileged.