KINGSTON, Jamaica – The United States Department of State 2015 report on human rights practices says Jamaica’s Government is corrupt and lacks transparency.
The 2015 report, which has very similar findings to the 2014 report, said although there are existing laws, which provide criminal penalties for corrupt officials, the Government has failed to effectively implement the laws, resulting in officials sometimes engaging in corrupt practices with impunity.
To bolster its claim, the report stated: “The government continued efforts to interdict and prosecute officials’ corrupt practices and raise public awareness on corruption. Media and civil society organisations, however, continued to criticise the Director of Public Prosecution for being slow and at times reluctant to prosecute corruption cases.”
For example, the DPP did not order an investigation of a former mayor for nepotism in the award of public contracts until after a court, in December, ruled in favor of the Contractor General in deciding the DPP could prosecute, the report said.
In September, the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency arrested and charged 10 officials for public sector corruption and 22 police officers for corruption. During the same period, courts reached 27 convictions, three acquittals and 14 dismissals. Pending in the courts were 159 corruption cases from 2008 to 2015.
In the 2014 report, the US also alluded to an Organisation of American States (OAS) report, which was critical of Jamaica’s prosecutorial agencies for their general failure to prosecute corruption cases, especially the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.