Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell says Grenada would adopt its own governance models to ensure anti-corruption practices even as he acknowledged that a global paradigm shift “that requires us to adopt positions on governance and public sector management”.
Mitchell, addressing the fourth annual “Centre for Excellence Series Senior Leadership and Management Regional Training Programme, organised by the Office of the Integrity Commission here, reaffirmed his government’s commitment to facilitate regional anti-corruption training.
“I assure you that we are taking seriously and embracing this challenge of a global paradigm shift that requires us to adopt positions on governance and public sector management,” he told the opening ceremony of the event that ends on Thursday.
“Our challenges are even more glaring in this COVID- 19 pandemic and it simply cannot be business as usual,” Mitchell said, adding “I further assure you that Grenada would continue efforts to improve our own governance models and ensure oversight with effective mechanisms that are responsive to both internal and external threats of corruption”.
Grenada has ratified the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption of the Organization of American States (OAS) and has acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and Prime Minister Mitchell said “such actions signify our collective intention to eliminate the practices and behaviours that foster corruption.
“Sisters and brothers it is clear, that [an] anti-corruption regime system must be robust, active, well-coordinated and consistent.
“Here in Grenada, we are actively engaged in the implementation of a suite of legislation that supports our thrust to address accountability and responsible public sector management,” Mitchell said, adding that “such legislation coupled with implementation efforts, must holistically address the risks and gaps that enable corruption”.
The virtual training programme is being attended by approximately 70 participants from the local public sector, non-governmental organisations, members of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB), and the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS).
In her address to the opening ceremony, Commonwealth Secretary General, Dame Patricia Scotland acknowledged that the event was taking place as jurisdictions face multiple and multifaceted threats that expose their vulnerabilities and undermine their resilience.
“Our Caribbean region is confronted with the triple impact of the coronavirus pandemic, climate crisis and serious economic challenges.
“On top of these, we have also to tackle, the no less injurious, but perhaps more invisible scourge of corruption; and we do so while simultaneously dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its many distressing consequences,” she said, likening corruption to the coronavirus saying that it is not partial to country, region, nationality or individual status.
“In ways which are similar to COVID1-19, the virus of corruption strikes with no regards for borders, race, politics nor religion.
“Like the pandemic which countries are fighting to control, corruption inflicts huge human and financial costs and puts in grave jeopardy the wellbeing of the most vulnerable,” Scotland said, adding “that while we think of corruption in monetary terms, it also has serious impact on the quality of our lives.
“The illicit financial flows which cost developing countries US$1.26 trillion per year, if properly applied, would lift above the poverty threshold, the 1.4 billion people who get by on less than US$1.25 per day, and keep them there for at least six years.”
She reminded participants that no country is immune from corruption and as such cannot become complacent in its activities to fight it.
Among the agenda items for discussion at the training programme include “Effective Financial Management and Procurement Practices during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, “Innovations in Financial Investigation and Asset Recovery”, “Gift registry Management for Public Officials in Grenada” and “Deploying Blockchain Technologies in the Fight against Corruption”.
Among the presenters are Dr. Roger Koranteng, the adviser and head of Public Sector Governance; Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and Kevon Stephenson, the Director of Investigations at the Integrity Commission of Jamaica.