The United States has released its 2014 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Jamaica, highlighting a number of issues including a lack of transparency in the Government and a failure of the Office of Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, to prosecute corruption cases.
Cecil Thoms has more from the report:
It’s the report on Jamaica, that human rights advocates are hailing as the most precise, detailed & accurate.
From allegations of extra-judicial killings by the security forces, the beating death of Mario Deane, the dismissal of Professor Brendon Bain & the failed EWI 360 megawatt energy project, the report captures them all — highlighting how they impinge on the country’s human rights obligations.
reference to the the EWI project is categorized under ‘Corruption and Lack of transparency in Government. The report mentions the Government’s revocation of EWI’s license to build the power plant, underscoring the Contractor General’s criticism of how Energy Minister, Phillip Paulwell handled the bidding process.
Under the same section, the report says the Government has failed to implement legislation to effectively criminalize corruption by officials.
It also highlights a report released last year by the Inter-American Development Bank, which criticized the DPP’s office for a general failure to prosecute corruption cases.
It also points out that despite more than 5-thousand civil servants failing to file financial declarations as required under the Corruption Prevention Act, the DPP’s office did not levy any fines or charges against them.
It notes, however, the fraud and corruption charges that were laid against the PNP’s Basil Waite, Donovan Bisasor and former Projects Manager at the National Works Agency, George Knight.
The report also notes the lack of prosecutorial power by the office of the Office of the Contractor General.
On discrimination against Persons, it says though the Government has prohibited discrimination based on race, gender, there continues to be discrimination based on party affiliation in the distribution of scarce benefits including employment.
And again, the report highlights what it says is a perpetuation of homophobia in the country, influenced by the dance hall culture.