Anti-corruption Day

| 08/12/2011

(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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Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Best post I have read in a long time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When a caymanian politician says he is a christian, he has 90% of the voters behind him.

    The problem is the people, they are to naif and uneducated.

    You can't blame the politicians to enrich themselves and their companies, that is only human. But you CAN blame the people for closing their eyes.


    • Anonymous says:

      you can easily point the finger at the people and call them all christian. but the elected government and the uk government is as well responsible for what is happening to cayman. do you know cayman was never a true democracy from the start? man, read the constitution they drafted for cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course "you can blame the politicians [to want] to enrich themselves and their companies". It may be human as you say, but it also dishonest and shows a complete lack of integrity on their behalf.  These are values which should be at the heart of every politician and public servant, and to let them think it's okay is just wrong..

  3. Just Sayin' says:

    Trouble is, here in the Cayman Islands, corruption is so deep rooted, perhaps even insitutionalised, that we often times have to wonder if the corrupt even realize they are doing wrong.

  4. Libertarian says:

    We have too much power concentrated in a representational government. The People here cannot recall politicians or hold them accountable, they have to wait 4 years before they can vote. No wonder we have corruption here in the Cayman Islands.  The Uk FCO, the Party system, and self-interest MLA's, and Alliance of Wealthy folk, have the People's interest in their hands!  From one ruling party to the next, tearing laws and policies of the other party, destroying the country whilst the Governor and FCO (suppose to be watchdogs) fold their hands and watch. There is no direct democracy or assurance of a secured direct democracy in the Cayman Islands. Under PPM, the Anti-Corruption Law sat on the table from 2008, and nothing was done about it – now under UDP, still what is being done about providing us with "checks and balances."  Under a flimsy Constitution, the Governor has power to override the people's elected ministers. Both governments, don't trust the people of these Islands enough to give them direct democracy. But is anxious to install measures of control, cctv camaras, wire tapping people's phones, and proclaim their fighting crime… yet they all with religious ministers in meetings, have bamboozle the public to voting for an inadequate Constitution. I say, we are in a fix. I do not recommend violence or a revolution in Cayman, but the power of persuasion; we have to rise up and protest and speak the truth like it is – even if it means going to the UK or UN in order to ensure our democratic rights.  Let us stop deluding ourselves about working with the system – we have to throw out the system completely and replace it for a better one; or else, it will be too late for us.