Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Christie saddles up for corruption fight

Published:Tuesday | May 19, 2020 | 12:20 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Greg Christie (left), executive director of the Integrity Commission, knocks elbows with Kevon Stephenson, director of investigations, on Christie’s first day on the job. Christie, a former contractor general who was criticised for his zealotry in fighting corruption, begins a new era at the Integrity Commission’s Oxford Road offices on Monday.
Greg Christie (left), executive director of the Integrity Commission, knocks elbows with Kevon Stephenson, director of investigations, on Christie’s first day on the job. Christie, a former contractor general who was criticised for his zealotry in fighting corruption, begins a new era at the Integrity Commission’s Oxford Road offices on Monday.

MONTHS AFTER the country slipped on the global Corruption Perception Index, newly appointed executive director of the Integrity Commission, Greg Christie, yesterday signalled that he is ready to hit the ground running, as the oversight body prepares to up the tempo in its war against rampant graft in Jamaica.

In January, Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) positioned Jamaica as the fourth most corrupt state among Caribbean countries, ahead of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti.

The no-nonsense, hard-hitting former contractor general was sworn in yesterday by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen as the first substantive executive director of the anti-corruption body. Colonel Daniel Pryce acted as the interim executive director since the single anti-corruption body was established a little more than two years ago.

Kevon Stephenson, a former senior investigator and director of evaluation and standards at the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), was also sworn in by the governor general at the Oxford Road offices of the commission, via videoconference.

In his remarks after the ceremony, Christie said that he has accepted his responsibilities “with an acute understanding of the fact that neither Jamaica, nor its people, will achieve anywhere near their full socio-economic potential if corruption, impunity, poor governance, or weak rule of law is allowed to enjoy a free rein over our land”.

It’s against this background that the seasoned anti-corruption campaigner “solemnly” assured Jamaicans and his colleagues that “I will faithfully discharge the obligations of my office with professionalism, diligence, impartiality and dispassion, without fear, and without favour, and that I shall do so at all times in compliance with the law, and solely in the interest of the people of our country”.

“They say that in fighting corruption, you will lose friends and you will gain enemies. That is true.

“But it has also been said that to oppose corruption in your country is the highest obligation of patriotism,” Christie said.

Felt privileged

He told his colleagues that he was honoured and felt privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to serve his country once again, and to do so in this unique and critical capacity.

Christie recently returned to Jamaica after having served as the director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Integrity Commission. He is a former United Kingdom Department for International Development-supported and financed consultant and principal adviser to Transparency International’s Jamaica arm, National Integrity Action.

Stephenson, the new director of investigations, said that his initial expectation was that a review be done “in terms of where we are as an entity now, whether we are fit for purpose and, of course, just to set the strategic objectives in train, so that we can get the job of the people of Jamaica done, in the manner that they so require, in compliance with the law and international best practices”.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com