Individuals holding top jobs in government may be taking a little too much time for their lunch breaks, and the public ends up paying the cost, writes Te Tuhi Kelly. 18062801
Ordinary staff members are not the only ones that steal time, some heads of ministries are taking longer than normal lunch breaks and morning and afternoon tea breaks. By Te Tuhi Kelly.
It’s true enough that we have the Covid pandemic decimating our economy and we know that this is unsustainable long term and all of us has to pitch in. However, closer to home people in the Cook Islands are stealing the crops and the fruit grown in our gardens and most times, onselling to unscrupulous or ignorant buyers. No one sees, says or owns up to whomever is doing this!
lived in the Cook Islands coming up to 11 years and have personally seen the
damage that is caused by staff stealing jewellery, cash, electronics, perfume,
clothes and all manner of food items and liquor from one’s business and one’s
clients. I have seen staff take accumulated 30 minutes off here, there and
everywhere and they either are ignorant or don’t care because this is theft of
time and when one adds this up over say 12-months, that is 10 working days for
each employee that does this. Imagine a workforce of 10 or more doing this that
means that for a business they have lost or paid out 3-months free wages for
one person total and that is huge.
those in the public service, it is even worse when they are just let go after
rorting the public purse and those charged with looking after our public monies
allow this sort of behaviour to proliferate and mismanage its consequences time
and time again.
doing it are rarely prosecuted under Cook Islands law because many
organisations and people here cannot be bothered following this up and just
terminate these people. These thieves are then employed elsewhere without
proper recruitment checks being conducted. So, in some ways organisations are
their own worst enemy when it comes to stamping out this blight on our
communities, and so these thieves do it again and again. Having been involved
in investigating or assisting in investigating these, I can tell you that there
is a definite apathy out there.
do not realise that for every dollar stolen it takes a business up to $50 of
sales to get that $1 loss back. It means the difference between profit or loss,
downtime getting a replacement, advertising, training the newbie, getting other
staff to take up the slack, loss of a contract or contracts, loss of face, bad
publicity, installation of security cameras, hiring security staff and that is because
of that one act of theft.
worse for a government body or non-governmental organisation because that is a
budget that no longer is able to service its needs adequately.
staff members are also not the only ones that steal time, I have seen heads of
ministries taking longer than normal lunch breaks and morning and afternoon tea
breaks, coffees, unscheduled meetings, late sessions, mates, friends, rallys
and other excuses for meetings. If these are not genuine for the purposes of
their organisations then this is theft of time and considering the salaries and
wages they are paid, it is downright criminal and a drain on the public purse.
cannot and must not let these people get away with it, because it sends the
wrong message and sets the tone for more thievery without proper consequences.
We have got so bad at managing theft that we protect the thief not the victim.
We allow the thief to go free, we do not tell the community who they are, we
protect their name and the name of the thieves’ families. We make excuses for
their poor behaviour and give them an out as to their upbringing and their
circumstances notwithstanding that similar people brought up that way do not
resort to such antisocial behaviour. We give them a slap on the wrist and send
them on their way with forgiveness, and they do it again. Meanwhile the victim
is left holding the baby, little redress, little recompense, little faith in a
system designed to protect the law abiding because of privacy issues.
very much the ‘needy, seedy and greedy’ model of people doing this and each of
these descriptors has differing approaches for sustaining successful social
outcomes. The government must invest properly in ensuring that the community at
large does not suffer because of the misdeeds of the few.