#Jamaica, November 15, 2017 – Kingston – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has welcomed the National Integrity Action’s (NIA) ‘Integrity Champion’ programme, which complements the Government’s ongoing drive to stamp out corruption.
Speaking at the certification ceremony for 434 persons trained under the programme, at Merl Grove High School in St. Andrew on November 12, he noted that through this programme, anti-corruption measures are being brought down to “the grassroots (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 (CVSS), 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, 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 to participate 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. Catherine and Clarendon – each of which shall serve as training facilities for those trained to train others,” Professor Munroe informed.
Meanwhile, 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.
For his part, Chargé d’Affaires, United States Embassy, Eric Khant, assured 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.
“With the training they have received, our hope is that they will be able to promote awareness on the burden corruption poses on society, teach how to implement anti-corruption initiatives within communities, and, more importantly, demonstrate how community members can partner with governmental and non-governmental organisations to blunt corruption,” he said.
This was the first batch of trainers to receive certification under the programme, which is slated to end in March 2019. The Integrity Champions, who hail from Kingston, Clarendon, St. Ann, St. James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Trelawny, St. Catherine and St. Thomas, underwent an intensive two days of training.