Sat | Nov 18, 2017

PM welcomes NIA’s integrity champion programme

Published:Wednesday | November 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM
‘Integrity Champions’ recite the National Integrity Action’s (NIA) Integrity Pledge during a certification ceremony held at the Merl Grove High School in St. Andrew on Sunday. They are (from right) Jasmine Campbell, Kayan Douglas, Misanda Moncrieffe, and André Nicholas. They were among 434 persons certified in anti-corruption practices under a train the trainer programme.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has welcomed the National Integrity Action's (NIA) Integrity Champion programme, which complements the Government's ongoing drive to stamp out corruption.

Speaking at the certification ceremony for 434 persons trained under the programme at Merl Grove High School in St Andrew on Sunday, he noted that through the programme, anti-corruption measures are being brought down to "the grass-roots (level) to make it a more sustainable movement to support and complement the legislative and prosecutorial actions that the Government is taking".

Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the programme, which is being undertaken in collaboration with the Council of Voluntary Social Services, involves the training of trainersin anti-corruption practices.

The prime minister pointed out that the project "is really a profound change" in the strategy being employed to stimulate a new culture of accountability, transparency and anti-corruption in Jamaica.

"There is no doubt that integrity, accountability, and transparency are necessary pillars of any prosperous and progressive society.

Having true ambassadors of integrity will definitely improve and build capacity for local and citizen-based action against corruption," he said.

... Programme to strengthen community organisations

In the meantime, executive directorof the NIA, Professor Trevor Munroe, explained that the main objective of the programme, which began last year, is to strengthen community organisations, and in particular 4-H Clubs, to produce high-quality volunteers to participate in anti-corruption efforts and activities.

He explained that an essential part of the project is the establishment of centres of excellence "to be focal points for applied research on anti-corruption strategies and policies" to support the work of the Integrity Champions.

"Already, five centres of excellence have been established in Kingston, St. James, Ocho Rios, St. Catherine, and Clarendon each of which shall serve as training facilities for those trained to train others," Professor Munroe informed.

For his part, charge d'affaires, United States Embassy, Eric Khant, assured the US Government's continued support in the fight against corruption, noting that over the past five-years, the US Government has spent nearly US$12 million through USAID and other channels to provide training and equipment to Jamaica for anti-corruption initiatives.

This was the first batch of trainers to receive certification under the programme, which is slated to end in March 2019. The Integrity Champions, who hail from Kingston, Clarendon, St Ann, St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Trelawny, St Catherine and St Thomas, underwent an intensive two days of training.