by Linda Straker
By the end of the week a number of stakeholders will have a better understanding about the UN Convention against Corruption and the procedures required for reviewing its implementation and enforcement in Grenada.
Virginia de Abajo Marques of the UNCAC office, which is based in Panama, is presently in Grenada with two of her colleagues, to provide guidance to stakeholders which include civil society, the judiciary and law enforcement.
During a session on Monday with Civil Society representatives, Marques explained that in accordance with the Convention, a state has the right to exclude or include civil society contribution, and in the case of Grenada, it has welcomed the input of civil society.
“The participation of civil society is important and we are very happy that Government has decided it will include civil society, because it is not a mandatory requirement but an optional one, and Grenada made the decision to have civil society be part of the process,” she said.
The convention introduces a comprehensive set of standards, measures and rules, which all countries can apply in order to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes to fight corruption.
It was explained that chapter 3 of the convention is of great importance to civil society during the reporting process as it focuses on criminalization of those accused of corruption. Signed by almost all members of the UN, the convention identifies corruption as a serious problem which can destabilise the security of society, undermine institutions and values of democracy as well as jeopardise sustainable development, justice and ethical values.
Marques said that a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach is required to prevent and combat corruption effectively, and is pleased to learn that Grenada already has laws that work in the best interest of fighting corruption in certain sectors.
The sessions in Grenada are part of the process of preparing the island to its review, which will focus on chapters 3 and 4 of the convention. These chapters focus on criminalization and international cooperation.
She said that the review process can be a tedious but it will show the world that Grenada is committed to its international obligation to fight and stop corruption not just among public officials but private sector.