Archive for December 8th, 2011

Anti-corruption Day

| 08/12/2011 | 8 Comments

(TI): We have seen that economic growth without good governance does not guarantee that the fruits of that growth will be shared equally, nor does it guarantee stability. When political decisions are unduly influenced by special interests, when valuable resources are exploited by profitable companies but the wealth does not reach the citizens, people lose faith in their leaders.

When public services are weakened because funds are diverted, lost or stolen, people lose out on services they need to live a decent life.

When the fabric of societies is fatally weakened and violence can thrive unpunished, people die.

While awareness of corruption is on the rise, so is the sophistication of the techniques used to profit from it. The size of the illicit economy, estimated at US $1.3 trillion by Global Financial Integrity, provides an unacceptable hiding place for bribes, tax evasion and the laundering of embezzled or misallocated public funds. Every year that goes by without reform of the global financial architecture is a year in which it remains possible to profit from corruption with impunity.

Governments are responding by passing new anti-corruption measures into law. We have seen legislative progress in several G20 countries, and the G20’s anti-corruption agenda is one of our best hopes for creating a positive contagion effect, to counteract the negative contagion created by the financial crisis.

However, in hard economic times, the question is whether governments will show the political will to ensure such measures have real impact. This will require ensuring that well-resourced investigators can operate with the same levels of sophistication as the facilitators of corruption. The onus must now be on businesses and governments committed to keeping clean to lead by example by operating with the highest standards of transparency in all their operations.

Until this happens, corruption will continue to weaken the effectiveness of the most important projects of our time: the climate projects that we need to protect planet and people from global warming, the development policies that we need to help people living in dire poverty, and the efforts to resurrect a fairer more just economy from the economic crisis.

For too long, the demands of citizens for more accountable government have met promises for change, but too little action.

From this anti-corruption day on, we must judge commitments to good behaviour by the transparency and accountability with which leaders of government and business conduct their affairs.

Huguette Labelle is Chair of Transparency International

Today, 9 December, is the United Nations’  International Anti-Corruption Day and is being observed across the world to raise public awareness of corruption and what people can do to fight it. 

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Dart ready to go with projects, says Doak

| 08/12/2011 | 0 Comments

dart shovels.JPG(CNS Business): In the face of mounting speculation that the ForCayman Alliance between government and Dart is in jeopardy because of the framework agreement government has signed with the UK, the chief operating officer of the Dart group has said that the developer is ready to start as soon as government signs the deal. Releasing the executive summary of a report by Deloitte, which the developer commissioned on the West Bay road proposed projects, Jackie Doak said the study “demonstrates the positive and immediate economic impact starting the projects will have” and reiterated that as soon as the agreement is signed the firm is “ready to start to work”. Read more on CNS Business

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SPS not compliant says Miller

| 08/12/2011 | 29 Comments

ezzard june_0.jpg(CNS): The government’s Strategic Policy Statement (SPS) does not meet the requirements of the financial framework agreement that the premier signed in London last month, the independent member for North Side has pointed out. Unsure about when the document takes effect as it has not yet been brought to the country’s parliament, Ezzard Miller said the new agreement sets out the details of what should be in an SPS, which he could not find in the one delivered by the premier in the Legislative Assembly last week.  He also wondered where the economic analysis was coming from for government’s predicted revenue increases because it appeared as if they were numbers just put in for numbers' sake.

Miller stated that it was not yet clear whether or not government had to follow the rules of the framework agreement but if it did there was a problem because the latest SPS did not comply with section fifteen.

Querying the figures as well, Miller was suspicious of the uniformity of the year on year increases and asked where the projections came from in the document. He said that the global uncertainty and the talk of austerity by the premier was contrasted by the predictions of increased revenue over the next three years.  While the premier spoke about the fall in revenue from key sources, such as work permits, he was still predicting an increase in government earnings. 

Miller noted that while the SPS spoke at length about controlling public spending, the projections told a different story.  He pointed out that the increase in this year alone of $21 million in public spending did not reflect government’s claims of cutting expenditure.  The independent member wondered if the elected arm of government needed to take greater control of the administrative arm as it clearly wasn’t delivering the cuts that the premier claimed he was aiming for.

The dependence of government on the long predicted development projects was also a concern for the North Side member as he referred to the uncertainty and controversy now surrounding most of them.

He pointed in particular to the government’s decision to negotiate with CHEC for the cruise port development in George Town. Miller said he was still puzzled as to how the Bejing based firm had ended up at the table since it was not one of the original bidders that answered the call for proposals. He pointed to the controversy surrounding the firm in other parts of the world and in particular the Caribbean.

“My concern is that we are dealing with the wrong people,” Miller said.

If the new FFA was now in effect however, there was hope as the whole project would, he believed, have to go through a much deeper period of analysis and even be re-tendered in order to meet the requirements of that UK agreement. He said the Dr Shetty project also seemed to be reduced and none of the others appeared to beprogressing.

In short, Miller said, there was no support for the premier’s predictions for revenue in this year’s SPS.

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