Bold faced and corrupt villains are perceived to operate with impunity, as the cancer that is corruption takes its toll on almost every aspect of life here in Trinidad and Tobago. This, as billions of dollars went in and out of the treasury.
A frustrated public is left to rue the reality of being fleeced. The people of Trinidad and Tobago pay the price as corruption exacts its vengeance. The implications of corruption were made concrete by an IMF blog penned by Vitor Gaspar, Paolo Mauro and Paulo Medas. In the well researched blog, the writers shared some strong and valid points about corruption. The points weren't new, but there is still no harm in repeating them.
Fighting corruption requires political will to create strong fiscal institutions that promote integrity and accountability throughout the public sector.
Corruption also prevents people from benefiting fully from the wealth created by their country’s natural resources. Because the exploration of oil or mining generates huge profits, it creates strong incentives for corruption.
Corruption wastes taxpayers’ money.
Countries with lower levels of perceived corruption have significantly less waste in public investment projects. Most corrupt emerging market economies waste twice as much money as the least corrupt ones.
Governments waste taxpayers’ money when they spend it on cost overruns due to kickbacks or bid rigging in public procurement. So, when a country is less corrupt, it invests money more efficiently and fairly.
Corruption also distorts government priorities. For example, among low-income countries, the share of the budget dedicated to education and health is one-third lower in more corrupt countries. It also impacts the effectiveness of social spending.
Curbing corruption is a challenge that requires persevering on many fronts, but one that pays huge dividends. It starts with political will, continuously strengthening institutions to promote integrity and accountability and global cooperation.
No country is immune to corruption. The abuse of public office for private gain erodes people’s trust in government and institutions, makes public policies less effective and fair and siphons taxpayers’ money away from schools, roads and hospitals.
While the wasted money is important, the cost is about much more. Corruption corrodes the government’s ability to help grow the economy in a way that benefits all citizens.
When you read the above points and consider the problems facing Trinidad and Tobago-economic and social, it is easy to agree with the writers of the IMF blog.
National sport organizations, athletes, coaches and technical officials, are all feeling the financial pinch. There are challenges through out our society and communities. Yet the corrupt in our country are brass faced and defiant, flaunting and rubbing salt in the wounds of the law abiding citizens of the twin Island Republic. It's almost as if they are gloating and taunting and thumbing their noses at a hapless citizenry. While this is going on the dreams of the talented youth and young people of Trinidad and Tobago seem increasingly far-fetched.
Written by Brian Lewis
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC and TTCGA.