Ladies and gentlemen it is an honor to be with you today at the start of this conference. We are gathered, as the king declares in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “in the corrupted currents of the world.”
We are here to find paths to enhance coordination and partnership within the Commonwealth to turn back those corrupted currents and build public trust in the ability of governments to promote transparency, accountability and justice.
Transparency International (TI) is a global non-partisan, not-for-profit, civil society organization with more than 100 national chapters across the world – and of course in this country and region too. We are constructive partners wherever possible with other NGOs, with business and government in the common quest to combat corruption in all its forms – the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain.
I am especially honored to have been invited here by the Commonwealth Secretariat. About 23 years ago I sat down in London with a New Zealander, Jeremy Pope, then the General Counsel of the Commonwealth Secretariat to try and convince him to consider joining TI. Jeremy was our founding Managing Director and played an enormous role in defining what TI should be and would become. By the way, in 2000, Jeremy and I co-authored an article for the World Bank/IMF journal on the roles of anti-corruption agencies - ACAs.
The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) supports the existence of independent bodies established through national legal systems to enforce, implement and promote anti-corruption policies and principles. A well-functioning oversight mechanism with a focus on anti-corruption is vital for good governance. Transparency International embraces ACAs as natural partners in our common cause.
Today, I want to leave you with three central thoughts on this topic:
First, anti-corruption commissions and other similar bodies dedicated to cleaning up graft are essential – the political and economic costs of continuing corruption are intolerable;
Second, we have seen two decades of increasing cooperation among a rising number of players across the world around the central objective of eliminating corruption and the tempo of cooperation is increasing formidably;
And, third, we have enormous opportunities to build on the progress and so work jointly as partners to forge outcomes that benefit all peoples.
My greatest concern relates to corruption and human security.
Last year in Zimbabwe, a 7-year old girl was raped. The rapist paid the local police to avoid arrest. Only after the intervention of my colleagues at Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC) in the country were investigations launched. The villain was eventually arrested, taken to court and sentenced to jail, where he died of HIV/Aids. The young girl, as well perhaps as other of his victims, has HIV/Aids today.
I could tell you many humanitarian nightmare stories. Stories about counterfeight medicines that have led to deaths as health ministry officials and their business cronies got rich. Stories about vast numbers of deaths in buildings that collapsed because the developers and construction companies bribed local official inspectors so that they could avoid basic safeguards and key standards.
So at the outset today let me underscore a crucial goal: corruption must be ended to secure the basic rights of all people and ensure a world where everyone can live in dignity.
...continued ...full text: - Presentation to the Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Commissions in the Caribbean.
 http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2000/06/pope.htm “Making Anticorruption Agencies More Effective” by Jeremy Pope and Frank Vogl , Finance & Development, IMF, June 2000, Volume 37, Number 2.