GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Andrew Holness, the leader of the parliamentary opposition of Jamaica and a former prime minister, will be speaking at the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) Anti-Corruption Conference, which takes place March 19 – 21, 2014.
Holness will speak on the morning of Friday, March 21, on The Ethical and Anti-Corruption Framework of Jamaica: My Vision for Change. On Thursday, March 20, Holness, who is also a former minister of education for Jamaica, will be a member of a panel, following a presentation by Cayman’s minister of education, Tara Rivers, who Rivers will speak on the role and effectiveness of formal education in instilling values and ethics.
Commenting on his participation in the conference, Holness said: “Holding such a conference is very important to the Caribbean, as corruption continues to be of serious concern among many territories of the region.”
Unless this changes, “the development of the region will continue to be at risk, as there can be no doubt that corruption is a hindrance to the positive development of Caribbean societies,” Holness said.
Regarding his home territory, Jamaica, he continued to express grave concerns about the effect of corruption on the stability of that society. Consequently, he said, he continues to crusade for improvement to Jamaica’s ranking for the second consecutive year [on an international perceptions index] of 83 amongst 175 countries.
Dr Livingston Smith, conference chair, said that he was very pleased that Jamaica’s leader of the opposition would add to the diversity of views and to the enrichment of the discussion at the conference.
Speaking on behalf of the university, president Roy Bodden said that the attendance by the number of high-level political leaders as well as those in academia, civil society and the clergy “underscores the importance of the conference.”
“Corruption is everybody’s business,” Bodden said, adding: “I challenge the Cayman public, as well as our overseas’ guests, to show their support by attending the sessions offered at the conference and, beyond that, to become involved in anti-corruption campaigns.”
In order to ensure that participants are able to take forward proposals coming from the conference, Smith said that one of the end products of the conference would be a communiqué compiling key recommendations emerging at the conference.
Dr Trevor Munroe, director of the National Integrity Action of Jamaican, will be leading arrangements for the drafting of the communiqué.
The aim of the conference is to raise awareness of the potential for corruption and the decline in ethical standards across all the various sectors of society, and the consequent damaging effect on economies and social harmony. The conference will focus on strategies of various regional governments and organisations, public and private, to raise sensitivity to these threats and how to curb and eliminate them.