Current Affairs

Current Affairs

  

  

Speak now, Mr Shaw!
The Gleaner
February 26, 2002


AS OPPOSITION Spokesman on Finance, Audley Shaw is striving hard to earn a reputation as master of the exposť. His robust style lends credence to what he declaims in Parliament or political platform.

Hence he revelled in the revelations of the Fat Salaries affair of 1998, his initial sortie in the genre which stirred much public attention.

In Mr. Shaw's latest preoccupation, however, he may be reaching more for political mileage than for the public good. If, as he told a JLP fund-raising dinner in Ocho Rios Saturday night, he has evidence that money from the NetServ scandal has been diverted to a secret Swiss bank account he has a duty to inform the appropriate authorities.

Delaying disclosure until his Budget Debate presentation smacks of grandstanding for political effect, particularly with a general election in the offing.

As far as we are aware access to information from the Swiss banking system is protected by legislation and for the most part is available only after court action. Mr Shaw or his party may have the resources to get the proof he claims to have; but even so such information ought not to be reserved for the limited benefit of a political party.

We are not arguing here against the public disclosure of wrong-doing. Indeed there will be much of this kind of allegation as the JLP mounts what it says will be an all-island campaign against corruption.

Allegations on the hustings will be inflated by exaggeration and the heat of campaigning. We think it would be more to public benefit if wrongdoing is dealt with by the relevant legal authorities.

Mr. Shaw must disclose what he says is proof of his allegations or be accused of making mischief ≠ and he must do so ahead of the Budget Debate.