WE are aware of the charges brought by the Police Force against several cops in a case now before the courts and do not wish to pronounce on the merits or demerits of the proceedings.
The matter and several others in the public domain, however, serve as an opportune reminder of how some people in different positions in society have to be held to higher standards than others.
It’s like the case for Members of Parliament and others in similar positions having to declare statements of income and assets to the statutory Integrity Commission every year. They are lawmakers and are expected to at all times be above board by setting the example for others in society.
Those sworn to uphold the law and protect and serve other citizens must at all times strive to be beyond reproach.
And this runs across the board, including all those in the public service and other state and government departments.
The tales of people bribing public officials to get the most perfunctory of things done – including stuff as mundane as jumping queues to be served before those ahead of you — are too old and too many.
Guyanese have become accustomed to bribing or offering bribes for almost any and everything. And even those feeding the monster of corruption of and by public officials are among the first to complain that the government and the ‘big ones’ tolerate corruption.
Take the new law against drunk driving, for example.
It has not yet taken hold on the highways and byways but drivers and others are already predicting that traffic cops are set to rake in more in bribes from those caught drinking and driving or those suspected of drinking and driving.
The argument is that many people will opt to grease the palms of the law officers rather than spend time and money going to courts to try to prove their innocence.
And so they offer bribes, hoping that the recipients are so hard up or bereft of moral principles that they will wink and blink, take the ‘small piece’, and feed the monster.
The simple point is that corruption will not thrive in infertile ground. It is something that is cultivated and nurtured and the more people turn their backs to the dirty practice the faster will it metamorphose into a desert.
People cannot want to have their cake and eat it.
Those who try to find loopholes not to pay their due share of taxes to the public treasury cannot be in the forefront of people crying out for better roads, drainage and irrigation, more street lights and other infrastructure.
People across all strata of society have to shoulder their share of the burden and helping in the battle against corruption by refusing to help water and nurture it in other ways is a significant first step.