Grenada is taking a leadership role within the Commonwealth Caribbean as plans unfold towards the establishment of a regional centre of excellence geared at combating corruption in the region by the end of July.
This was disclosed by Chairperson of the local Integrity Commission, Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph, who recently returned from the 3rd annual Conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) held in Jamaica from April 24 -28.
Lady Joseph, who is also the Chairman of CCAICACB, was at the time addressing a press conference at the Office of the Integrity Commission on Archibald Avenue last week Friday.
She told reporters that, “the Government of Grenada, through the Department of Public Administration with sponsorship under the auspices of the Government of Singapore, will establish a Centre of Excellence, hopefully by the end of July”.
“And in this Centre of Excellence…we will establish a regional anti-corruption training centre,” which she noted, the regional anti-corruption bodies “have been requesting for some time.”
Lady Joseph, who headed a 5-member delegation from Grenada to attend the 4-day conference, expressed pride at the idea that this new development would allow for the tri-island state to “remain a hub of activity for anti-corruption,” noting that “the CCAICACB was established by the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, United Kingdom, during the inaugural conference, which was hosted by Grenada in 2015.”
She disclosed that the Jamaica conference focused on various issues surrounding anti-corruption and the prevention of corruption and provided participants with training in the various areas discussed.
“We shared our best practices (and) challenges among us,” she said, referencing one of the major issues locally surrounding the most recent corruption index rating coming from Transparency International, which rated Grenada 46 out of the 176 countries listed in the index in its January 25, 2017 rating.
In a joint press release last February, following the potentially damaging rating, the Integrity Commission and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), whose work involves developing and implementing strategies to achieve effective control of corruption, expressed shock and sought an explanation from Transparency International in this regard.
“We had asked to meet with that body, which attended last year’s conference in Trinidad and Tobago; however, a member represented them in the Jamaica Conference (as) one of the co-heads who was there with us last year was unable to attend this year.
“But this particular topic was very well discussed and informed our communiqué in terms of the resolutions that we are going to do together as an association. And one of the (issues) we discussed as it relates to these types of perception indexes such as Transparency International’s (is that) we as an association will together make sure that the data about what we are doing and how we are doing it are made available together, because we are operating with the sponsorship under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat, (we would) issue our own findings and indexes of data so that people can get a very, very clear picture of yes; the fact that there is corruption (and) it is a way of life in our Caribbean areas, just as it is in many other areas of the world.
“…We know for sure that corruption is part of our cultures worldwide but we also want to share and let it be known that we in the Caribbean are undertaking our best efforts to address this and ensure that we sensitise the public and also taking active steps in terms of our legislation…and to ensure that we are seeking (to) prevent, control and manage corruption.
“We will be undertaking an assertive approach to let the general public and the world at large know what we are in fact doing, in ways that sometimes these perception indexes don’t know about….we have been doing education and training but we are going to intensify.
“We are advised that a building is located…on Upper Lucas Street, renovations are being undertaken (to allow for) the centre to train up to 40 persons at a time in one area and 20 in another,”
“Grenada has been most generous by offering to share this facility to the rest of the Commonwealth,” Lady Joseph said, noting that “once the training centre comes it would be a great benefit towards us here.”