June 24, 2014
Integrity needed in our society, from bottom up

Tue Jun 24, 2014

Much has been said over the years about the need for integrity legislation for those in charge of our governance.

While the spotlight is being shone on politicians, we sometimes tend to forget that these men and women are merely a reflection of our society, the source from which they came.{{more}}

Politicians are not a special breed of people, they did not drop out of the heavens; they are simply our brothers and our sisters.

This commentary is by no means an attempt to find excuses for politicians, but a reminder that integrity is required of all of us, not just the political directorate.

It may be therefore useful to shine the integrity light on our society to gauge where we may be going as a people. That said, perhaps a point of departure would be the definition of integrity, which is, as stated by Merriam-Webster, “the quality of being honest and fair.”

If politicians ascend to public service from the general society, then as a Vincentian people, we have to ask ourselves how honest and fair are we in our everyday dealings.

We, therefore, ask, does a person of integrity use the printing resources of his workplace for personal purposes? What about using social media or spending long periods of time on texting during working hours? Does integrity include extended breaks during your hours of employment? What about using the phone at the workplace to make personal calls or applying for sick leave when you are not ill? Does integrity include late-coming? What about “shopping” in the supplies cupboard at work for stationery supplies and toiletries?

We take many of the aforementioned actions for granted as a right, but they are dishonest and do cheat employers of time, resources and finances. These actions are pervasive in the workplace and are everyday occurrences more so in the public sector, whose workers have a higher level of security of tenure, and whose managers are also less inclined to institute mitigating measures.

The conversation on integrity must start with us and until we practise what we preach, integrity would continue to be an abstract theory to be used as a political punching bag in our so-called Christian society.