International Anti-Corruption Day - "Your Right, Your Role Say no to corruption!"
THE GLEANER, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2021 | www.jamaica-gleaner.com | ADVERTISEMENT C3 Executive Director, Integrity Commission Greg Christie Jamaica’s Integrity Commission joins the United Nations, other national anti-corruption agencies and leaders and institutions all around the world in commemorating International Anti- Corruption Day on December 9, 2021. This year, the annual global campaign is being advanced under the theme: “Your right, your role: Say no to corruption.” The theme highlights the fact that citizens not only have a right, but a responsibility, to speak up against corruption. You should not feel inhibited to do so. Neither must you allow others to intimidate you into silence. When we do not speak out about corruption we not only help to normalize it but, worse, we give it the oxygen that it needs to breathe. We, therefore, become constructive aiders and abettors of a problem that will ultimately operate to our own detriment. Corruption benefits only the corrupt! Consequently, the architects and administrators of corruption, and their supporters, would like nothing more than for you to keep quiet. In fact, they will go to extremes to accomplish their objective, oftentimes in very subtle ways, and other times in ways that could bring you harm. As it has been said, when you fight corruption, it will fight back! But, as patriots, we must not be deterred by this. There is too much at stake! Very importantly, however, the fight against corruption is not just a fight for citizens, or for anti-corruption agencies and law-enforcement. It’s a fight for a nation’s leaders. Why? Because, like all worthy efforts, if they are to succeed they must be purposefully led. The battle against corruption must, therefore, commence with a country’s Prime Minister or Executive President, and his/her Cabinet. They must design the policies and set the tone that will drive and encourage high standards of integrity, ethical conduct, values and accountability, not only in government, but in the wider public sector, as well as throughout the country as a whole. And they must do so in both word and in deed! As Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father and first Prime Minister of Singapore said, “the moment key leaders are less than incorruptible, less than stern in demanding high standards, from that moment on the structure of administrative integrity will weaken, and will eventually crumble.” Leadership in a nation’s anti-corruption fight also falls, as a matter of course, to a nation’s lawmakers. It is axiomatic, though not readily obvious to all, that if a country’s anti- corruption laws are deficient, or are inconsistent with international anti- corruption and anti-bribery best practices, you can have as many anti- corruption institutions as you would wish, but they will be of no moment. Business leaders, too, must recognize that the ‘bottom line’ of profit is not the only line in a commercial enterprise. There is something that is called the ‘good corporate citizen’ and, as the captains of industry, manufacturing, trade and commerce, they must also visibly and credibly lend themselves to the anti-corruption cry. A big part of corruption is attributable to the role that businessmen play in political campaign financing. Oftentimes, this is done with the implicit or overt understanding that there will, in time, be a quid pro quo for their contributions. That said, it is virtually impossible for the grand bribery of political, government or public officials to take place without the complicity of members of the private sector. This is a stark reality. And, it is for this singular reason that many countries around the world have been passing laws to punish the business enterprise, whether large or small, for its ‘failure to prevent bribery.’ In the final analysis, we must all play a role in rejecting corruption. We must call out its purveyors, as well as its sponsors. And we must do so loudly. We must let them know that they are enemies of society, inhibitors of national prosperity, obstructionists to social and economic progress, and architects of poverty. It was Mr. Javier Corral, the then Governor of Mexico’s Chihuahua State, who said this on March 28, 2017: “He who steals from the government does not just steal a few cents or some millions. He steals opportunities, he steals hope, and he steals the rights of people who aspire to a better life.” Say NO to corruption! President, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Keith Duncan The Private Sector Organisation is pleased to join in celebrating this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD). This year’s theme: Your right, your role: Say no to corruption, serves as a clarion call for all Jamaicans, especially in the context of recent challenges that have brought into sharp focus the need for integrity and transparency for national and global progress. The work of the Integrity Commission, has now, more than ever, proven to be integral in restoring the eroding confidence of our people in the nation’s political directorate. We have been disheartened by the repeated cases of mismanagement of scarce public resources; instances of corruption that have undermined the country’s capacity to grow and a lack of integrity by those from whom we require exemplary behaviour. Nonetheless, we refuse to be dissuaded and as an Organisation continue to partner with public and civil society stakeholders to achieve the requisite change. We have made public calls on the Government of Jamaica to earnestly begin training and screening individuals appointed to serve on public boards. This we believe must be accompanied by legislation such as the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (Nomination, Selection and Appointment to Boards) Regulations, as these regulations are a foundational element in the public sector corporate governance structure. We also remain committed to the agreements outlined in the National Consensus on Crime, a bipartisan, multi stakeholder agreement, which among other things addresses the link between organised crime and politics. All well thinking Jamaicans are pleading for a new tide in leadership – one focused solely on public service and achieving equitable and sustained development. To achieve this, we must all take ownership of our responsibility to shun personal involvement in any practices of corruption while holding our leaders to account. The saying remains more poignant today: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing,” – so let’s “Say no to corruption.” Executive Director, National Integrity Action Prof. Trevor Munroe, CD, DPhil (Oxon) NIA joins with the Integrity Commission and all well thinking Jamaicans in saluting IAC2021, under the theme ‘Your right, your role: say no to corruption.’ This theme is particularly timely and relevant to us Jamaicans. It is the right of each of us to enjoy citizen security, of our children to have access to proper education and of our people to have the benefit of satisfactory health services, adequate roads and water supplies. Yet Jamaica is falling short in providing these essential services. One main reason: Organized crime, corruption and the corrupt are stealing up to 100 billion dollars annually which, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 and crime pandemics, could otherwise be allocated to making the majority of our people enjoy a less stressful and more satisfactory life. For much the same reason, our police officers, teachers, health workers and other public servants are experiencing additional pressure, receiving inadequate compensation and unsatisfactory conditions of service. It is therefore the role and responsibility of each of us to do all in our power to build integrity, to prevent, detect and punish corruption. NIA, on this IAC 2021, therefore renews it’s resolve to intensify its activity towards increasing public awareness of the harmful consequences of corruption, strengthening Jamaica’s anti-corruption framework and supporting more effective law enforcement to punish the corrupt. Towards this end, we reaffirm the critical role of our Integrity Commission and look forward to strengthening collaboration with the Commission and with other anti-corruption bodies as well as civil society and private sector organizations. The President, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Mr. Ian Neita The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) acknowledges this year’s commemoration of International Anti- Corruption Day under the theme “Your right, your role: Say no to corruption”. We are acutely aware of the significance this celebration, in recognizing that corruption is an impediment to economic growth and development. Jamaica’s placement as one of the most corrupt nations in the world has significantly stymied our efforts to become a first world country. Jamaica is spotlighted as much for its innovation, sportsmanship, and culture, as it is for its involvement in corruption. We endeavour to revamp this image and are committed to be engaged in this fight against corruption. We appreciate that Jamaica’s leaders have set up the requisite infrastructure for the oversight of corruption; our concern lies in the effectiveness of this structure. The JCC has embarked on a journey to counter Illicit Trade and increase Integrity in Business. We will continue with this mandate as it acknowledges that a less corrupt Jamaica will catapult us to a place of global influence. We encourage our fellow citizens, businesses and government counterparts to continue in this fight against corruption, become educated and develop the best strategies to cure this malady. We look forward to further commitment and to join with the Integrity Commission and the United Nations in their fight against corruption. Executive Director, Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal Jeanette Calder Corruption is theft - the stealing of the assets and resources we have, as well as the ones we should have but are denied. Relative to other jurisdictions, Jamaica is legislatively and institutionally well-positioned to take on that monster. However, laws and technical solutions are insufficient in themselves and will amount to little if not addressed at a cultural and personal level, as this behaviour for many, is a part of social and business norms as well as our political culture. As we strategise our recovery from the macro-economic impact of the pandemic, the need to see major inroads in combatting corruption as top priority. Every tax dollar must count and every opportunity to maximise the value of that dollar must drive the decisions in every ministry, department and agency. However, there will be no meaningful progress without the involvement and buy-in of Jamaicans in every nook and cranny. Anti-corruption partnerships between Government, corporate sector, civil society organisations and international development partners are solidifying to the benefit of all Jamaicans but there is a distance we will not cover without the confidence and support of the majority. That is the partnership we must now forge and the Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal is confident that enough pieces are in place to achieve this most worthy goal of normalising integrity in service to country and each other. “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching!” C.S. Lewis