Commonwealth calling for end to regional corruption

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj

“Corruption putting economic pressure on financially strapped region,”Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj

More institutional cooperation is needed to stem corruption in the Caribbean, says Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj says.

Speaking at the recent Commonwealth Regional Meeting for Heads of Integrity Commissions and Anti-corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean in Trinidad and Tobago, the Secretary-General says corruption is putting severe economic pressure on a financially strapped region.

“Caribbean countries are already facing economic challenges, such as unsustainable levels of debt and vulnerabilities due to climate change,” said Maharaj. “They simply cannot afford to fall victim to corruption. When those in positions of power abuse public or private office for personal gain, it robs our citizens of important resources, such as access to healthcare, a good education and the infrastructure required for successful entrepreneurship.”

“We are calling on governments to demonstrate that they are ready to make a stand and stamp out this injustice. Our aim over the next three days is to work with integrity commissions and anti-corruption agencies to agree on viable and effective solutions,” he added.

Commonwealth Secretariat anti-corruption expert, Roger Koranteng, pledged that pruning corruption both as the national and international levels will remain a priority for the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“Over the course of the next few days we will be working with our regional partners to agree on sound and tailored strategies and a range of services to fight corruption. We will be exploring options such as annual peer reviews to encourage transparency and share best practice,” he said.

The meeting was organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Integrity Commission and the Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean. The body was set up at the 2015 Commonwealth meeting on anti-corruption in Grenada to create networks to improve governance and reduce corruption in the region.

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