Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Transforming words into action: Revitalising the fight against corruption

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2019 | 12:18 AM

We, the Common­wealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (“the Association”), meeting at our Fifth Annual Regional Conference convened under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the Cayman Islands Commission for Standards in Public Life from June 3-7, 2019, at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, under the theme: “Transforming Words into Action: Revitalising the Fight Against Corruption”, are:

- NOTING with deep gratitude the invaluable support and warm hospitality provided by the commission for Standards in Public Life, the Cayman Islands Government and the people of the Cayman Islands;

- RECOGNISING with much appreciation the presence of the Rt Honourable Patricia Scotland, Q.C., Commonwealth secretary-general, her participation and delivery of the key note address wherein she reinforced the Commonwealth Secretariat’s collective determination to eradicate corruption through the development of research, capacity building, and networking;

- THANKING His Excellency the Governor Martyn Roper, OBE, for declaring the conference open while affirming the commitment of the Cayman Islands Government to good governance by the continued development and implementation of relevant policies in the civil service and the strengthening of its integrity bodies;

- APPLAUDING the stellar work of Dr Roger Koranteng, interim adviser and head, public sector governance, Commonwealth Secretariat, resulting in his winning the 2018 Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award;

- COMMENDING and thanking the Commonwealth Secretariat for its leadership, guidance, and financial assistance over the past five years and anticipating this continued support;

- REAFFIRMING the need to continue to use this regional conference as a platform for the sharing of information, best practices, and strategies for combating corruption and the promotion of good governance;

- EXPRESSING gratitude to the outgoing 2017-19 executive committee under the leadership, initially, of Mr Eugene Otuonye, QC, followed by Mr Dirk Harrison;

- HAVING extensively probed the theme of the conference and its programme content through the full exchange of the views of all delegates, facilitators, and participants;

AGREED RESOLUTIONS

We AGREE and ADOPT the following resolutions as actions to be taken by the association:

a. continue to reiterate the need for regional integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to maintain their independence, impartiality, and ­professionalism to further enhance their effectiveness;

b. make relevant recommendations to our Governments with a view to ­modernising, enacting, and bringing into operation relevant legislation to continuously combat corruption;

c. continue our calls on member governments to provide adequate financial, technical, and other resources (human or otherwise) to the integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies and greater autonomy in the use of those resources;

d. encourage member governments to promote, encourage, and support the work of each member country and the association as a whole;

e. invite CARICOM and other internationally recognised organisations to include on their agenda discussions related to anti-corruption efforts, integrity building, and the work of the member countries;

f. call upon Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to include the issue of anti-corruption as a side event at its meeting to be held in Rwanda in 2020 as well as part of its agenda and communique of that meeting;

g. network with a wide range of ­stakeholders in the fight against corruption to strengthen and establish relationships and to promote collaboration and capacity building locally, regionally, and internationally;

h. engage directors of public prosecutions to establish and/or enhance lines of communication and working relationships to strengthen anti-corruption work in the region;

i . organise, attend, and/or participate in conferences, collaborative opportunities, training and capacity-building programmes, and similar educational events;

j. assist with the creation of standard written operating procedures for the investigation of acts of corruption;

k. develop, implement, review, and update codes of conduct to reduce conflicts of interest and promote an ethical culture within the association and our organisations;

l. adopt effective and relevant organisational risk-management strategies and information-gathering techniques;

m. harness and put to maximum and innovative use all resources available while continually seeking to engage the Commonwealth Secretariat and other bodies for the provision of additional resources and opportunities for capacity building;

n. seek the technical assistance and support of the Commonwealth Secretariat in undertaking research to quantify the real cost of corruption;

o. explore the possibility of securing financial and budget support for the association from international development partners, especially those who have a vested interest in anti-corruption;

p. intensify public-education opportunities through engagement, surveys, data gathering, presentations, publications, and the media;

q. mobilise youth to understand the importance of integrity and ethics and the causes and effects of corruption on our society and their lives directly through the use of tools such as the UNODC’s Education for Justice Programme (E4J); and

r. promote the work of each member country through the use of Internet platforms such as dedicated websites.

FURTHER AGREEMENTS

Having due regard to the diverse experiences of member country delegates, it was further agreed that we should continue to:

a. pursue the development and implementation of regional anti-corruption model legislation in keeping with the requirements of the UNCAC and the constitutional and legislative frameworks of each respective member country in order to work towards the achievement of a reduction and eventual eradication of corruption in the Commonwealth Caribbean;

b. support each member country in its anti-corruption and integrity work within the unique context of each country; and

c. encourage each member country to evaluate the framework for its respective bodies through the use of the Commonwealth (Secretariat) Anti-Corruption Benchmarks and the Jakarta Principles.

Following the Association Executive Meeting, the Association further agreed:

a. to accept the tentative offer of St Lucia to host the Sixth Annual Regional Conference in 2020;

b. that the newly elected 2019-20 ­executive committee of the association shall be:

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

- Chairperson, Dirk Harrison – Jamaica

- Vice-Chairperson, Justice (Ret’d) Melville Baird – Trinidad & Tobago

- Secretary, Helen Ambo – Dominica

- Treasurer, Cleophas Regobert – St Lucia

- Member, Canon Mark Kendall – Turks & Caicos Islands

- Member, Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph – Grenada

- Member, Kumar Doraisami – Guyana

- Immediate Past Chairperson, Eugene Otuonye QC – Turks & Caicos Islands

- Representative of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr Roger Koranteng

- Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions & Anti-Corruption Bodies. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.