Corruption, a robust institution!

Corruption, a robust institution!

The Island: Opinion:   

Oiling ones palm in confined places or passing a few million bucks under the table or using the back door for that purpose seem archaic practices now. The norm today for this evil exercise is more transparent! Corruption today is a solid, robust institution that functions in the open, where the public are only too aware of its proceedings.

Many who take bribes, euphemistically referred to as commissions, say it is their share of a business deal or a service charge for a job done on behalf of a hassled individual, who probably has spent months going from pillar to post, trying to process his case legitimately and is now at the end of his tether with no other alternative.

The public, who are supposed to be blind idiots, are well aware that those involved in multi-million dollar projects receive such “commissions” in millions. Honestly, it is not the taking of the commission or the ‘kappang’ that dismays the citizenry, but the utterly sub-standard end product that is most often delivered to the public. For instance, some of the roads, bridges and buildings built with money loaned from other rich nations, are not constructed to universal standards and crumble and crack long before their time. Corruption is rampant in such mega projects where cheap materials are used and the public feel cheated and unhappy, whether it be a grandiose or a modest scheme, with a few exceptions of course.

Corruption in high places is most disgusting today, as many involved are our leaders of this country, elected by the people. The President cannot prevent his burgeoning cabinet and their henchmen from total corruption. But he can make it his top priority to see that public institutions are better controlled and monitored for transparency. Otherwise, one may suffocate in their own corruption and gasp for breath like the stinking Cricket Board, where shame and honesty have been taboo words for too long!

The other day, a friend of mine wanted a landline telephone connection. When the crew arrived and finished their job he requested them to install an extension to his upstairs bedroom. “Sorry, sir the law does not allow us to install a second instrument to your house,” said the head of the telephone crew. My friend retorted, “well, what about the rich and powerful who have more than two extensions in their homes?” “Sorry, Sir,” insisted the provider, at which instant my friend pulled out his wallet and out came the green backs that exchanged hands. Pronto! The job was done! Such uninhibited reaction to money is commonplace because the bigwigs of this country do the same at a drop of a hat! Thus, the ordinary man has no reservations whether giving or receiving a bribe and most often has no other legitimate option.

A few days back, a reader wrote to these columns lamenting that people who matter never read what is written in the newspapers by the public. Nor do they pay heed to even the best of editorials, that frequently highlight the plight of the present ‘Punchi Singhos’.

Yet, we will continue to write, if only to lessen our burdens and have faith in that distant flicker of hope, that the President or someone responsible will hear the voice of the people and act accordingly.

“Ä government, for protecting business only, is a carcass and soon falls by its own corruption and decay” – Amos Bronson Alcott.

Amarnath Paul,

/ News

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