‘The fight against cor­rup­tion be­gins with you’

Jamaica Gleaner - - HEALTH -

THE OF­FICE of the Con­trac­tor Gen­eral (OCG) and the De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (DFID) in the United King­dom have part­nered to launch a Youth En­gage­ment and Aware­ness Pro­gramme, un­der the theme: ‘The fight against cor­rup­tion be­gins with you’.

Launched dur­ing a cer­e­mony held at the Mona High School on Mon­day, the ini­tia­tive marks the com­mence­ment of a se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties to be un­der­taken over the 2016-2018 pe­riod.

The first year of the pro­gramme is be­ing funded by DFID at a cost of PS88,000 (J$14 mil­lion) and seeks to ed­u­cate and sen­si­tise youth be­tween 10 and 18 years about core eth­i­cal is­sues con­cern­ing cor­rup­tion, fraud and con­flict of in­ter­est.

In his re­marks, Con­trac­tor Gen­eral Dirk Har­ri­son said the sup­port from DFID is a re­flec­tion of the agency’s com­mit­ment to youth devel­op­ment and to Ja­maica.

QUEST FOR SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY

He em­pha­sised that the OCG is very pas­sion­ate about the na­tion’s youth, while not­ing that they should be “in­cor­po­rated in our quest for long-term and sus­tain­able change in all seg­ments of our so­ci­ety”.

“It is this mind­set that has caused us to en­sure that the youth are in­cor­po­rated in our anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, and we are ex­tremely grate­ful for the sup­port be­ing given to the OCG,” Har­ri­son said.

The con­trac­tor gen­eral noted that the OCG is cog­nisant of the im­pact that an aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign can have on the fight against cor­rup­tion.

“Most im­por­tant, the ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign is as ef­fec­tive as the preven­tion mech­a­nisms, which are passed through in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and in­creased aware­ness. The youth must be recog­nised as fu­ture lead­ers who, if groomed to ac­cept cer­tain be­hav­iour as so­cial norms, will per­pet­u­ate such be­hav­iour,” Har­ri­son said. Un­der the pro­gramme, prepara­tory, pri­mary and high schools across the is­land will be vis­ited by the OCG to do pre­sen­ta­tions of a par­tic­i­pa­tory na­ture on anti-cor­rup­tion/ethic­sre­lated is­sues. A sur­vey/pro­gramme assess­ment tar­get­ing 197 high schools, a se­lect num­ber of pri­mary schools, com­mu­nity and teach­ers’ col­leges is to be un­der­taken.

The sur­vey will be de­signed to mea­sure views on cor­rup­tion, its per­cep­tion, im­pact, mis­con­cep­tions and the re­al­i­ties in the Ja­maican so­ci­ety. An anti-cor­rup­tion youth assem­bly is to be cre­ated from the ini­tia­tive as well as the host­ing of a de­bate com­pe­ti­tion and a song and jin­gle com­pe­ti­tion.

Mean­while, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and the Pub­lic Ser­vice Aud­ley Shaw said he was pleased to be as­so­ci­ated with the ini­tia­tive in the fight against cor­rup­tion.

FALL­ING STAN­DARDS

“The im­por­tance of this pro­gramme can­not be overem­pha­sised, be­cause Ja­maica is faced with a cri­sis of fall­ing stan­dards, (which) if re­main unchecked, will lead to even greater neg­a­tive out­comes,” the min­is­ter said.

His speech was read by Min­is­ter of State in the Min­istry of Fi­nance and the Pub­lic Ser­vice Fay­val Wil­liams.

Shaw urged ev­ery Ja­maican to take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity to op­pose cor­rup­tion wher­ever it is seen, and “to en­cour­age our chil­dren to dis­cern right from wrong and ded­i­cate them­selves to pur­sue a life of ex­cel­lence and hon­esty”.

For his part, DFID Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive David Os­bourne said his or­gan­i­sa­tion has a track record of sup­port­ing Ja­maica’s fight against cor­rup­tion.

This, he said, in­cludes on­go­ing sup­port for the Ma­jor Or­gan­ised Crime and An­tiCor­rup­tion Agency, the In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion of In­ves­ti­ga­tions, and the Fi­nan­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Di­vi­sion.

“We have played a small part in the in­cred­i­ble re­sults these or­gan­i­sa­tions have achieved, in­clud­ing the re­straint of $400 mil­lion de­rived from cor­rup­tion, and $1.4 bil­lion de­rived from or­gan­ised crime; the ar­rest and charge of 120 po­lit­i­cally ex­posed per­sons and high-value tar­gets for cor­rupt or crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties,” Os­bourne said.

He noted that the OCG, an in­de­pen­dent, anti-cor­rup­tion com­mis­sion of Par­lia­ment, plays a crit­i­cal role in de­liv­er­ing Ja­maica’s fight against cor­rup­tion.

“We are de­lighted to­day to be ex­pand­ing our part­ner­ship and sup­port­ing the OCG ... sup­port­ing its cam­paign to ed­u­cate, en­gage and in­form youth on the is­sue of cor­rup­tion,” Os­bourne stated.

He added that this is crit­i­cal, as cor­rup­tion in­volves two sides – the bribe-taker as well as the bribe-giver.

“If cit­i­zens and busi­ness peo­ple of­fer bribes, they cre­ate op­por­tu­nity. If they refuse to par­tic­i­pate, cor­rup­tion can be re­duced overnight. If the youth of to­day re­ject cor­rup­tion, there will be less cor­rup­tion to­mor­row. We hope that our sup­port helps the OCG and its part­ners mo­bilise young peo­ple to pre­vent cor­rup­tion,” Os­bourne said.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

Stu­dents from the Mona High School per­form an item called ‘Cor­rup­tion Inna di city’ at the launch of the Of­fice of the Con­trac­tor Gen­eral’s Youth En­gage­ment and Aware­ness Pro­gramme, held at the Mona High School on Mon­day.

Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment David Os­bourne (left) high fives stu­dent of Mona High School, Re­na­cia Thomas, af­ter the launch of the Con­trac­tor Gen­eral’s Youth En­gage­ment and Aware­ness Pro­gramme at the Mona High School on Mon­day. In the back­ground (from left) are Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cate Di­a­hann Gor­don Har­ri­son and stu­dents of Mona High School, Su­dene McAl­mon and Tif­fany Glave.

Con­trac­tor Gen­eral Dirk Har­ri­son (left) places a ‘Youth Against Cor­rup­tion’ sticker on the dress of his wife, Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cate Di­a­hann Gor­don Har­ri­son, af­ter the launch of the Youth En­gage­ment and Aware­ness Pro­gramme, held at the Mona High School on Mon­day.

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