by Linda Straker
Anti-corruption agencies in the Commonwealth Caribbean have indicated that they will be gathering regional data and will release they own anti-corruption index similar to that of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions annual report.
Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph, Immediate past Chairman of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commission and Anti-Corruption bodies, said that was 1 of the conclusions at the recently concluded 3rd conference of the Association held in Jamaica.
Several Commonwealth nations are ranked as having a high perception of corruption, with officials in the affected countries expressing concerns. Grenada has confirmed writing to the Transparency International seeking clarity about the methodology for reviewing.
“One of the outcomes of the conference was that collectively as the Commonwealth Caribbean Association, we must also ensure that our side of the story, the work, the efforts, the data that we have, must also be made information to the public. We need to share it, so that the public can have an objective picture of what is happening, not only here in Grenada but what is happening across the region,” Trotman-Joseph told the media during a news conference.
“If we don’t, then a perception index will not tell the story for us and all the efforts that we are making, not only here in Grenada but across the region,” she said while explaining that in response to the letter that the Grenada’s Integrity Commission sent to Transparency International, there has been a promise to dialogue with the Commission.
Trotman-Joseph who will continue to serve on the executive of the Association said that 1 of the concerns of Transparency International 2016 index released during the 1st quarter of 2017, is that several Caribbean and other Commonwealth countries were bunched together.
“Generally, the concern was that the Caribbean Nations are being bunched together despite efforts that are being made in country, they are being bunched together; we appreciate that it is a perception index and we appreciate that sometimes the persons contacted might be organisations or persons from organisations which work with people on the ground, so the perception may not really tell the story of what is happening, because they themselves may not know,” she said.
Trotman-Joseph who previously served as Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, became Chairman following the retirement of former Chairman Madame Justice Monica Joseph, said that Grenada and other anti-corruption agencies in the Commonwealth are doing a lot to fight corruption. Because people are not aware of their hard work, the perception from Transparency International makes it appear as if nothing is happening.
“The story of the hard work, the preventative efforts, the anti-corruption efforts, the pursuits of efforts such as assets recovery, proceeds of crime, the investigations that are actually being undertaken in collaboration with many of the donors and international agencies, including the Government of friendly countries, are not being told,” she said.
Grenada has 31 pieces of legislation aimed at fighting corruption. The intention is to have the 1st Commonwealth Caribbean anti-corruption report released in 2018.