THE EDITOR: The Newsday editorial of Tuesday criticised the “familiar platitudes” that are trotted out for International Anti-Corruption Day. But what were the editorial’s own recommendations? “Strengthening checks and balances within state agencies to ensure a culture of compliance.” “Legislative tools such as the procurement legislation.” “Transparent systems that more quickly detect problems in all areas.”
What are these if not platitudes? The problem of corruption is inherent in government. This is because human beings respond to incentives and the incentives in state enterprises and government ministries reward corruption more than integrity.
This means there is no incentive to strengthen checks and balances or be transparent. And motivated officials will always find ways around procurement laws, since such laws mean that government will continue to be involved in business activity.
The only way to reduce official corruption is to get government as much as possible out of commercial ventures. The State Enterprises Investment Programme 2019 lists 133 companies that the Government is involved in. Divest those companies and corruption will automatically be reduced.
ELTON SINGH, Couva