Contractor General Dirk Harrison's Inaugural Speech

KINGS HOUSE 25TH February 2013 -Dirk Harrison- Office of the Contractor General

His Excellency the Most Honourable Patrick Allen ON, GCMG, CD, Governor General of Jamaica, the Honourable Mrs Justice Zaila McCalla Chief Justice, Judges of Appeal (Retired), Dpp present and retired, family and friends.

This day I consider one of the most important days of my life, next of course to the day I got married. Both occasions importantly give me an opportunity to share a close relationship with a desired lifelong partner.

I have often described myself as a career civil servant and today nothing has changed but a fortiori I am fortified in my personal commitment to play my part as we as a country take strides forward as committed members of a single purpose oriented Team. The objectives have been geared towards us as a people achieving our true potential in every sphere as we strive to achieve the goals of Vision 2030 Jamaica’s National Development Plan.

In order for us to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, we must as a people NOW AND NOT TOMORROW commit to work as part of a team to make Jamaica Land we Love a better place in which to live, work and play.

In the face of a culture of silence that has ‘evolved’ and continues to grow in recent years, the challenges of gathering information during the investigation of a crime or the prevention of a crime or the recognition of the breach of a procurement guideline and the investigation of same is formidable. Consequently Investigators must continue to or begin to maintain the balance between sound investigation on the one hand and an ethical and professional awareness of their duty to be fair but fearless on the other.

It is better that a perceived guilty man go free than an innocent man suffer in confinement.

Your Excellency where do we start then?

The beginning must be a spiritual and ethical awareness that if we intend to make a difference collectively we must work together as we develop strategies and guidelines to fight crime; perceived and actual corruption involving all stakeholders whether law enforcement agencies, the church, The Commissions of parliament, NGO’s, civil society and all persons across the length and breadth of the land . We must take the message and repeat the message over and over again to our children and adults of an impressionable age. We must re-engage our students in our schools, our brothers and sisters at church, our members of Parliament, those workers on our construction sites and finally those who venture on our play grounds.

The message is that it cannot be business as usual. We cannot keep on ‘passing the buck’ as the term has been coined, waiting on the next generation or the next person to solve or begin to seriously tackle the ills of today. We must take back our country, but time shall be the master of change as I would be the naïve to suggest or think that change can or shall occur overnight. We must however be prepared to

be committed to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes to continue, renew, reshape our strategy in our fight against the abominable crime called CORRUPTION.

I trust I shall be able to follow the vision of my four year old son who during a conversation two days ago asked

Q. Daddy why do we have to go to Kings House to see the Governor General ?

A. Daddy has a new job and he is going to collect a document from the Governor General !

Q. What job?

A. The Contractor General!

That’s not a job daddy that’s a person!!!!!!

I just smiled. But I now ask for divine intervention to know the difference between the person and the duties beholden to the office holder.

The seminal importance of doing the right thing for the right reason cannot be over emphasized, not only because it is just and the law of the land. We must strive for excellence as a means to an end and as an end in itself.

As a developing country we have, I believe, been for some time grasping at thin air in a metaphoric sense to address the scourge of corruption when one considers our successes. But importantly the steps over say the last few years to the present of the Government(s) of the day, the NGO’s, The Office of the Contractor General and other stakeholders has increased our awareness to… not to the existence of endemic corruption but rather the willingness to tackle endemic corruption . This posture SHALL not change.

Much more needs to be done since the approaches differ, the stakeholders have changed and more importantly the apparent corrupt are aided and abetted by others within and outside the public service who seem to be a step ahead of the law abiding and continue to move the goal post.

Consequently the apparently corrupt seem to have become more brazen, technologically savvy and determined to take the fight to law enforcement.

I invite therefore my countrymen to tell us what you know and we will take the fight to the corrupt, we will protect the whistleblowers and report wrongdoing in the confines of observing fairness, the laws of natural justice and seek to make Jamaica a better place for us to live work and play.

I therefore as my final charge today FIRSTLY invite all stakeholders to share information in the united fight against corruption and maintaining law and order and SECONDLY finally to ask the legislative thinkers to draft the appropriate (protocols) to allow the sharing of information between state agencies.


Thank you

Dirk Harrison

25th February 2013