Transparency International chapters in the Caribbean plan to work together to share their expertise and experience across the region and form the Transparency International Caribbean Network.
This network will bring together Transparency International chapters in Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago, one partner organisation in Guyana and one in Bahamas that recently joined plus experienced regional anti-corruption activists in St. Kitts and the Cayman Islands.
“Our goal is to strengthen anti-corruption prevention and law enforcement with a focus on developing effective legislation on political financing, advancing whistleblowing protection, strengthening procurement legislation and promoting integrity in public life and freedom of information,” said Alejandro Salas, head of the Americas region for Transparency International.
The first meeting of the TI Caribbean Network took place in Miami at the end of May. All members agreed to exchange information on their national challenges and to identify the main corruption trends that most affect the region.
“We want to raise awareness in our local population that corruption harms their quality of life and that there are ways to fight corruption. We want to work with local investigative journalists to tell the stories of corruption and how to hold the guilty to account. These are exciting times for Transparency International in the region,” said Professor Trevor Munroe, executive director of National Integrity Action, Transparency International’s chapter in Jamaica.
Transparency International has identified the main corruption challenges facing Caribbean states as:
- Weak non-transparent and unaccountable institutions
- Lack of, or weak basic anti-corruption legislation (such as access to information laws and whistleblowing protection) and weak enforcement of existing legislation.
- Collusion among business and political elites affecting procurement processes.
- Mobilising people to fight corruption. Citizens need to understand their rights and stand up for them.
Already Transparency International has set up two Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres in the region in Jamaica and Haiti. These are places where citizens can report incidences of corruption in everyday life and find advice on how to fight against it. A new Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre will be opened in Trinidad and Tobago soon.
The first activities of the network will be to host a training course for investigative journalists on covering and uncovering corruption facilitated by National Integrity Action, Jamaica. The network will also publish and promote the Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer, which measures ordinary people’s views and experiences of corruption, in at least two countries from the region. (The Global Corruption Barometer gives reliable information on corruption levels and trends and generates comparable data among countries.)
For contact information of the individual partners in the Caribbean region please go to http://www.transparency.org/whoweare/contact/ and select a country.
Pictured are (back row, left to right): Omar Lewis, National Integrity Action (NIA), Jamaica; Alesia Nahirny, Transparency International Canada; Lemarque Campbell, Citizens for a Better Bahamas, Bahamas; Sarawatie Bharrat, Transparency Institute of Guyana; Luciana Torchiaro, Transparency International; Claudie Jules Philippe, La Fondation Heritage, Haiti; Charles Wilkin, St. Kitts/Nevis; (front row, left to right): Lissane Hamilton, National Integrity Action (NIA), Jamaica; Alejandro Salas, Transparency International; Prof. Trevor Monroe, National Integrity Action (NIA), Jamaica; Dion Abdool, Trinidad &Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI).
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