Heads of anti-corruption agencies in the Commonwealth Caribbean conclude their annual conference in St Kitts and Nevis with a rallying call for collaborations to strengthen anti-corruption efforts.
The 8th Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) concluded on Friday 27 May 2022 in St. Kitts and Nevis, with a rallying call for international, national, and regional collaboration to strengthen anti-corruption efforts. Delegates also unanimously adopted a communique, which captured key priorities and recommendations to be implemented by member countries.
The conference, which was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the St Kitts Integrity Commission in collaboration with the Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies, took place at a critical time when the world is recovering from the devastating socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which created ample opportunities for corruption to grow and thrive.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on 23 May 2022, the Commonwealth Secretary-General reaffirmed the Secretariat’s commitment to working with all member states to collaborate on shared priorities and tackle anti-corruption head-on as “no country, region, or community is immune” to this scourge.
“I need not remind such an esteemed gathering of the destructive economic, social, and political impact of corruption. It undermines the ability of our countries to deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth and social progress. It persists as a grave challenge to our development and a malignant force in our societies.
Matching up to corruption requires the spirit of Commonwealth goodwill, mutual support, experience and expertise.
Swift and decisive action is needed. And we need you – your acuity, your wisdom, and your effort, more than ever. Because it falls to us – the upholders of justice and integrity – to work together more closely than ever on preventative action, and to share knowledge and innovation.”
The conference was held under the theme ‘Controlling Corruption – Preventative Mechanisms Work Better Than Reactive Measures’ and saw delegates review national and regional anti-corruption efforts, share knowledge and good practices, and discuss the impacts of corruption on sustainable development.
Delegates committed to fostering greater networking and coordination among national and regional agencies to strengthen anti-corruption work and agreed to invite CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and other internationally-recognised organisations to collaborate with CCAICACB in anti-corruption efforts, integrity building and capacity building.
Delegates also called on their 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. Furthermore, governments must ensure that respective commissions are fully constituted and functional.
Recognising the value of education and training in fighting corruption, delegates agreed to provide more recourses on public education, advocate that anti-corruption is placed in the curriculum in the formal education system and adopt the life cycle approach to anti-corruption, educating persons from cradle to grave.
Additionally, they agreed to promote and embrace blockchain technology as a means of preventing corruption by providing transparency and immutability.
Dr Roger Koranteng, the Secretariat’s Adviser and Head of Public Sector Governance, who assisted in the organisation of the conference, received an award in recognition for his commitment to the fight against corruption and for establishing such a vibrant and important a network of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies in Commonwealth Caribbean. On receiving the award, he said:
“It is such a great honour to receive this recognition acknowledging the work I have done. This award is dedicated to each person in this room – we are all in this fight against corruption together. So, I want to say thank you all, and most importantly to the Secretary-General for her guidance and support, and for her steadfast commitment to combatting corruption across the Commonwealth.”
Dr Koranteng also thanked the people and Government of St Kitts and Nevis for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for the conference and urged Integrity Commission and Anti-Corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean to take advantage of best practices and knowledge shared by international organisations and practitioners, as well as other countries, to design and implement innovative anti-corruption projects and programmes.
This year’s meeting was the first to be held in person in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the opening ceremony, a new Commonwealth Secretariat publication titled, Combatting Corruption in the Commonwealth Caribbean was launched highlighting the success stories of The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines – six countries that have made significant progress in combatting corruption.
The countries were selected due to their relatively strong scores on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) or because they have registered a significant improvement in their score on this index over the past decade.
The next conference in the Caribbean will be held in 2023 in St Lucia.
- Angela Kolongo Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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