AFTER four days of intense discussions and interactions, member countries at the recently held conference of integrity commissions of Commonwealth Caribbean countries, have resolved to, among other things, enhance working relationships with governments and public sectors to fight corruption.
The fourth annual Conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) concluded last Thursday, June 8, at the Beaches Resort and Spa in Providenciales.
The theme was, ‘Counting the real cost of corruption – Engaging everyone in the fight.’
Commenting on the conference proceedings this Thursday, outgoing chairman association, Eugene Otuonye, QC called the event a huge success.
“If the independent assessments of the conference by the delegates are anything to go by, it is fair to say that this fourth conference was a huge success.
“Its positive impact on the delegates is evident in the conference communiqué which, among other things, articulates the determination and commitments of the delegates and the association members to intensify their anti-corruption and good governance efforts, involving everyone in the process.”
The conference featured addresses and presentations by eminent persons in the region and the world, as well as stakeholders involved in the national, regional and international anti-corruption and good governance efforts.
Through country presentations, peer reviews and benchmarking, country delegates from Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and others, shared their experiences, exchanged ideas, strategies and best practices in their anti-corruption and good governance efforts.
In addition, the various panel discussions at the conference provided unique opportunities and platforms for the delegates and the representatives from the media, the civil society, religious, and youth organisations and other private sector stakeholders, to engage and explore together the enormous cost and damage of corruption and how best to engage everyone in the fight against it.
The conference ended with the annual general meeting of the association, during which elections were held to fill vacant positions in the executive committee of the association and the conference communiqué was issued.
Having extensively discussed the theme of the conference and its programme content, the executive committee members with a full exchange of views of participants agreed and adopted the following resolutions:
-Reiterate that regional integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies must continue to maintain their independence, impartiality and professionalism, to further enhance their effectiveness.
-Urge the integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to harness and put to maximum and innovative use, all resources available to them, to engage everybody in the fight against corruption.
-Urge integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to make recommendations to their governments with a view to realising reinvigorated political will, public sector and nationwide commitments, to continuously combat corruption.
-Urge regional governments to enact, expand and implement national legislative frameworks and strategies for improved effectiveness, so that there are no legislative silos which deter holistic anti-corruption work in the region.
-Urge the integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to secure at national and regional levels, statistical information on the real cost of corruption and make the information available to the ordinary person.
-Must encourage integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to develop harmonised benchmarking systems and protocols for the purposes of both internal and national systems and institutions, statutory corporations and agencies, for which they have oversight.
-Must implement effective organisational risk management strategies and gather to achieve meaningful inter-agency collaboration, locally, regionally and internationally.
Continue calls on member governments to:
-Provide adequate financial, technical and human resources to the integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies.
-Give encouragement and support in their prompt and efficient discharge of their statutory functions in their sustainable fight against and in the eradication of corruption.
-Agree that integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies should further intensify their public education and citizens’ engagement and initiatives, surveys and data gathering, and in particular continue the deeper mobilisation with children, youth, civil society organisations and religious bodies, in the fight against corruption across the region.
-Agree that as part of their efforts to engage everyone in the fight against corruption, and for optimal utilisation of resources available for anti-corruption and good governance efforts, the integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies should robustly embark on national stakeholders conferences, inter-agency collaboration, sector-wide training and capacity building programmes.
-Must encourage integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to develop harmonised strategies and practices for strengthening cooperation and the sharing of data, information and lists of persons of interest among themselves.
-Must encourage Caricom to place on its agenda the discussion of anti-corruption efforts.
-Must encourage governments, integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies to acknowledge corruption perception indices, and engage independent integrity agencies to work regionally to determine strengths and challenges so that the association can share more objective corruption indicators and recommendations for improving the fight against corruption across the region.
Having regard to the diverse experiences of members of the Association it was further agreed that the integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies should:
-Continue to 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 their respective countries, to achieve effective reduction and eradication of corruption in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
-Continue to support and encourage each other through benchmarking and practitioners’ exchange, and thereby enhance the sharing of their experiences, best practices, information and solutions among themselves and the monitoring of the impact of the association’s interventions.
-Be innovative, and seek to secure the best results, in their anti-corruption and good governance efforts, taking into account the social, cultural, economic and political circumstances of their local environment.
The association also agreed to accept the offer of the government of Grenada to provide facilities for capacity building programmes of the association, in collaboration with the government of India and the commonwealth secretariat.
They also accepted the tentative offer of Cayman Islands to host the next conference in 2019.