Region needs leaders willing to fight corruption

| 24/03/2014

(CNS): A critical step in limiting corruption and promoting ethics is to have strong and committed leadership at the helm of the region’s countries, the committee for the recent UCCI conference concluded in its closing declaration. The need to promote ethics and prevent corruption requires a culture of transparency where it matters most at the heart of government, the committee found at the end of the two day event. Recognising that legislation was not the only answer, the conference organisers said effort from the entire society was required to achieve real transparency, accountability and good governance.

The conference committee recommended that every Caribbean country consider the creation of a single independent anti-corruption state agency, with specialist resources, criminal investigation and prosecutorial jurisdiction, as well as full police powers of arrest and detention, over all corruption offences.  It also called for tough criminal and civil sanctions upon private sector entities for the bribery of public officials.

The committee concluded that there was a need for the countries across the region to implement legislation to regulate political party funding and campaign financing filing as well as the disclosure of assets, income and liabilities for all parliamentarians and critical level public officials.

With procurement being the danger area for most corruption, independent procurement regulators to monitor and investigate government contracts and to ensure probity, transparency, competition and value for money, were recommended as the best way to limit opportunities for bribery, as well as strong penalties for breaches of procurement guidelines.

Not forgetting the grassroots, the committee said community organizations can remind elected officials that they in fact answer to the greater electorate and not political factions.

Trevor Munroe, Executive Director of NIA and Professor, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute, UWI, delivered the closing declaration on Friday following a three day conference which was described as unprecedented across the region in scale and quality.

The conference entitled, "Towards a Corruption-Free Caribbean; Ethics, Values, Trust and Morality” brought together 120 participants from 15 countries in the Caribbean as well as North America, Europe and Africa. The Conference was multi-sectoral including leaders of government, members of legislatures, and representatives of the private sector, civil society organizations, tertiary institutions, churches, and media houses.

It drew on expertise and experience of political scientists, sociologists, psychologists, ethicists, theologians, environmentalists, attorneys-at-law, medical scientists, accountants, and very importantly, present and past officials of anti-corruption commissions and institutions.

Dr Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Board of Transparency International, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former Managing Director at the World Bank, Perry Christie, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Andrew Holness, MP, Jamaica’s opposition leader as well as Cayman’s own premier, all expressed their thoughts on tackling corruption.

Munroe said that the mantra of conference 2014 was Connect, Share, Inspire.

“The Conference did connect with the broadest cross-section of Caymanian society, which attended its many sessions and tuned into the many radio discussions in which invited attendees participated,” he said. “It shared in the rich diversity of experience and expertise of the speakers in plenary, panels, round tables and workshops and it inspired many to convert words into deeds, talk into action in more effectively combating corruption and building integrity."

Speeches and presentations from the conference are available here

Videos from the conference are also available on youtube

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Category: Politics

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did any of the speakers quoting how cayman is still a christian nationa decide if giving government money to the chruches is a form of corruption? 

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not vote buying corruption if the donor has clean hands and a pure heart.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The region will never have leaders willing to fight corruption because most of them benefit from the same corruption that we are asking them to fiight against.