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Cabinet ministers get training

Thursday, February 18, 2021

THE Integrity Commission says it has now completed the delivery of a specially developed series of 12 anti-corruption, good governance and integrity sensitisation workshops for Jamaica's prime minister and members of his Cabinet.

The ministerial workshops were conducted in ten 1 1/2 to 2-hour sessions held during the country's weekly Cabinet meetings, courtesy of Prime Minister Andrew Holness. The workshops commenced on November 9, 2020, and were completed on February 15.

Holness raised the idea of anti-corruption sensitisation training for Cabinet members when the commission's executive director, Greg Christie, paid a courtesy call on him last year. The executive director readily gave a commitment that the commission would develop the relevant materials and deliver the training. This was in keeping with the thinking of the commission that Jamaica parliamentarians and public servants generally needed to be educated as regards the provisions of the law, in order to encourage compliance and prevent legitimate claims of ignorance.

The workshop modules were designed to cover a wide range of anti-corruption, integrity and good governance subject areas, and to impart critical information about the commission's statutory mandates, powers and enforcement functions, as well as Jamaica's corruption laws and offences. Importantly, Cabinet members were also counselled on what they should and should not do to avoid criminal culpability, or public opprobrium and criticism in their administration and conduct of Jamaica's public affairs.

Among the topics covered by the workshops were: An overview of Jamaica's anti-corruption institutional and legislative frameworks; looking at the problem of corruption, inclusive of the various types of corruption, the costs of corruption, where Jamaica stands and why corruption must be confronted; the foundation responsibility of a country's leaders and lawmakers to tackle corruption; the principles of good governance, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability in public life; how to avoid conflicts of interest; the importance of the rule of law; the roles and responsibilities of the Cabinet, Parliament, accounting, accountable officers, and public officers; and the fundamental obligation of public servants to serve the public interest.

The workshops also focused upon Government's public procurement rules, procedures and requirements; the Integrity Commission's; public procurement; government contract award, land and asset divestment; and licensing oversight processes.

The workshop modules were delivered by the commission's executive director, Greg Christie, and senior members of his team.