With general election around the corner, the Integrity Commission has met with political parties on the island to enlighten them on its anti-corruption initiatives.
Ten political parties came together at the National Cricket Stadium last Wednesday for the Integrity Commission’s Education Outreach Programme in keeping with Integrity in Public Life Act #24 of 2013.
A similar session has already been held with Government Ministries and Departments, the Media, Committee of Social Partners, and Presiding Officers and Public Bodies.
Head of the Integrity Commission, Anande Trotman-Joseph told the participants that although much is not being heard of the commission, it has been doing a lot of work in terms of testing the anti-corruption temperature in Grenada.
An attorney-at-law by profession, the Guyana-born Trotman-Joseph addressed two of the conventions that Grenada has signed on to prevent corruption.
“Grenada has signed on to an Inter-American convention against corruption and this is a regional OAS treaty. Grenada is a member country of the OAS and we have agreed to this convention and therefore we have agreed also to pass into law – our local law here in Grenada – (and) what this convention requires us to do to make it come to life,” she said.
According to Trotman-Joseph, the island also signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) which is a convention that Grenada ratified in 2015.
She said: “The mechanism that supports both of this convention to the OAS is called MESICIC and they have been here and they have been testing our anti-corruption temperature on the ground.
“Also, the UN convention that we speak of is a mechanism of the special purpose vehicle; to make sure that Grenada has ratified the UN convention against Corruption, the UNCAC – that it is actually doing what it said that it will do.
“…So, they’re also doing a lot of public education on the ground as well as training and we here in the Integrity Commission have been beneficiary of that training for the education along with many other Grenadians.
“For the last two years, roughly, we have been in the forefront of setting up the regional network of an anti-corruption system for Commonwealth Caribbean Integrity Commissions and other bodies and these include for example, FIU, here in Grenada, not only is the Integrity Commission a member of the regional body but also the FIU”.
The female Integrity Commission boss also took the opportunity to defend the body against criticisms levelled in some quarters.
Trotman-Joseph said that the quietness of the commission is what is required by law since it has to carry out its functions rather discreet and confidential.
“We know that sometimes you would pass our office it’s all locked up.
Sometimes you would see a Police Officer outside and the reason for that is because it’s a secure facility and a secure facility because the law of Grenada, especially the Integrity in Public Life Act, that requires us to keep all of the declarations and information within that office, private, confidential and secure.
“…So, it is not because we want to lock up and lock you out but by law if we don’t do that and take that chance and you hear anything coming out of that office with respect to what you declare to us, filed with us, we can be fined. The fine with respect to the act can be up to $20,000 if we do not follow procedures.
The Integrity Commission is mandated by law to get declaration of assets from all Members of Parliament, Magistrates, and several categories of civil servants in the country.