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No politics for NIA - Corruption watchdog vows not to morph into a political party

Published:Sunday | December 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Martin Henry - Ian Allen/Photographer

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

Two board members of the non-profit civic group National Integrity Action (NIA) have vowed that the corruption watchdog body, which is to embark on a membership drive in 2015, will not become a political party.

Professor Trevor Munroe, executive director of NIA, and Martin Henry, academic director of the University of Technology, gave the assurance during a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the company's head office in central Kingston last week.

"The statutes (of the NIA) would not allow that and a very critical mass of its present supporters, including board directors, would immediately withdraw support," declared Henry, who has developed a reputation as an unbiased political commentator after years of writing for The Gleaner.

Munroe, who has dabbled in politics in the past, first with the now defunct communist entity, the Workers Party of Jamaica, in the 1970s and with the People's National Party in the 2002 general election, was also adamant that the rules governing the NIA would not allow it to morph into a political force.

The NIA executive director further indicated that the board of the organisation, which is led by Professor Anthony Harriott (chairman) and includes businessman Joseph A. Matalon and trade unionist Danny Roberts, is to be strengthened next year with at least three more respected members of civil society.

Since it was established in 2011, the NIA has sought to influence government policy to crack down on corruption while seeking to get more Jamaicans involved in the fight against this scourge which costs the country billions of dollars each year.

The NIA has since indicated its desire to see "new legislation to strengthen transparency and accountability in governance; the enforcement of the law against the corrupt; ensuring that anti-corruption agencies function effectively and to forge strong ties with national and international partners to achieve more meaningful results in building a corruption-free Jamaica".