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Holness welcomes NIA's Integrity Champions programme

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has welcomed the National Integrity Action's (NIA) 'Integrity Champions' programme, which complements the Government's ongoing drive to stamp out corruption.

Holness, speaking Sunday at Merl Grove High School in St Andrew at the certification ceremony for 434 people trained under the programme, said that through this programme, anti-corruption measures are being brought down to “the grass roots (level) to make it a more sustainable movement to support and complement the legislative and prosecutorial actions that the Government is taking”.

Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the programme, which is being undertaken in collaboration with the Council of Voluntary Social Services, involves the training of trainers in anti-corruption practices.

The prime minister pointed out that the project “is really a profound change” in the strategy being employed to stimulate a new culture of accountability, transparency and anti-corruption in Jamaica.

“There is no doubt that integrity, accountability and transparency are necessary pillars of any prosperous and progressive society. Having true ambassadors of integrity will definitely improve and build capacity for local and citizen-based action against corruption,” he said.

In the meantime, executive director of the NIA Professor Trevor Munroe explained that the main objective of the programme, which began last year, is to strengthen community organisations, and in particular 4-H Clubs, to produce high-quality volunteers for participation in anti-corruption efforts and activities.

He explained that an essential part of the project is the establishment of centres of excellence “to be focal points for applied research on anti-corruption strategies and policies” to support the work of the Integrity Champions.

“Already, five centres of excellence have been established in Kingston, St James, Ocho Rios, St Ann, St Catherine and Clarendon — each of which shall serve as training facilities for those trained to train others,” Professor Munroe added.

Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips, also hailed the initiative. “I want to commend you for your patriotic commitment, for your courage in standing up, and to say that you will help to generate a culture of law-abidingness, a culture of respect for rules, and a culture that recognises the consequences of corrupt behaviour,” he said.

Chargé d'affaires, United States Embassy, Eric Khant, gave assurance of the US Government's continued support in the fight against corruption, noting that over the past five years the US Government has spent nearly US$12 million through USAID and other channels to provide training and equipment to Jamaica for anti-corruption initiatives.

— JIS

 

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