Six Caribbean countries signed a joint statement emphasizing the Region’s commitment to transparency and integrity at an Inter-American Development Bank regional ministerial meeting held earlier this month.
According to a press release the IDB hosted the December 5 meeting in commemoration of Inter-national Anti-Corruption Day “to contribute to the Caribbean’s dialogue on transparency and integrity in enhancing development and unlocking growth.”
Ministers of the economy and finance and other senior officials from IDB-Member Caribbean countries, The Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago gathered in Miami for landmark discussions on the positive impact of more transparent governance on the equity and competitiveness of the Caribbean economies.
The meeting examined opportunities to promote transparency and integrity and the positive impact this has on growth, competitiveness and investment. “Participants discussed key trends, challenges and opportunities for improving governance and areas of potential collaboration with the IDB,” the press release said. Discussions also underscored not only the costs of corruption, but also the benefits of transparent government in improving public services to citizens. The ministerial delegates reaffirmed the Caribbean region’s commitment to fight corruption and to strengthen governance by signing a joint statement at the conclusion of the event.
The presenters included Dr Sanjeev Khagram, John Parke Young Professor of Political Economy at Occidental College and senior advisor to the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, who highlighted the need to further fiscal transparency and financial integrity. Dr Robert Klitgaard, Univer-sity Professor at Claremont Graduate University, who illustrated recent innovation in transparent governance and open government and Professor Trevor Munroe, Executive Director of Jamaica’s National Integrity Action, who moderated a panel of regional officials which discussed the challenges and positive actions being taken by the countries to address transparency issues.
According to Gerard Johnson, the General Manager of the IDB’s Caribbean Department, the Caribbean’s growth is lagging behind other small economies and good governance is the key to social cohesion and growth. “A small economy has to be handled carefully. But the Caribbean’s growth is falling behind other small economies. To catch up, transparency will probably be put under pressure. Showing that governance is transparent and fair will be key to social cohesion and growth. We have to set strict priorities for new investments; focusing on projects that get the biggest bang for the buck,” he said. “The IDB appreciates its relationship of trust with regional authorities that makes it possible to collaborate on projects that make government more effective, efficient and open so as to deliver better services to their citizens,” Johnson added.