At the close of the UCCI Caribbean Anti-corruption and ethics conference on Friday (21 March), a declaration was issued that, amongst other proclamations, called upon Caribbean governments to consider, as a matter of priority, establishing an anti-corruption state agency. This body should be endowed with powers of arrest, investigation, and prosecution of all corruption offences, the communique declared.
The declarations were presented by Dr. Trevor Munroe, Executive Director of the National Integrity Action, Jamaica, a branch of Transparency International. Transparency International, with branches in over 100 countries, rates governments, business, and other institutions on anti-corruption scales.
In addition to local participants, the conference brought together 121 overseas and local presenters, from 15 other countries in the Caribbean as well as from North America, Europe and Africa. Among those presenters were leaders of government, members of legislatures, and representatives of civil society, tertiary institutions, churches and media houses.
In formulating the declaration, the conference arrived at a consensus regarding a number of areas of growing concern. These included the multi-faceted and interconnected nature of corruption, cutting across all sectors of society; its effect on economies and social harmony; and the need for strong and committed leadership, setting examples for the populace.