Jamaica focuses on Youth for International Anti-Corruption Day 2015

Dec 9, 2015

Jamaica's Contractor General, Dirk Harrison and UNDP Resident Representative Bruno Pouezat congratulate Kevina Blake and Pa'Vielle Hamilton on their anti corruption poster. Photo Credit: UNDP Jamaica

Children and youth were at the centre of International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December Jamaica, as UNDP and other international development partners supported the Office of the Contractor General (OCG)’s activities to spread the anti-corruption message among young people.

To mark the day, the OCG mounted billboards in two of the island’s cities – Kingston and Montego Bay - and branded two public transportation buses in both cities with artwork by two students who had entered the agency’s 2015 anti-corruption poster competition.

Both young ladies – Kevina Blake and Pa’Vielle Hamilton -and their proud family members were on hand to witness the introduction of the billboards and the branded buses at a brief ceremony held in Kingston.

At the event, which also featured an energetic performance from the Jamaica Youth Theatre Company, UNDP Resident Representative, a.i., Bruno Pouezat, praised the efforts of the Office of the Contractor General to reach youth with its messages of anti-corruption and noted that corruption is anti-development by its very nature.

Contractor General, Mr. Dirk Harrison, pointed to the need for Jamaicans to tackle corruption if the country is to realize the goals in its National Development Plan – Vision 2030. In reinforcing the theme for anti-corruption day, the Contractor General called on all Jamaicans to participate in breaking the chain of corruption.

“This can only be done if in addition to speaking out against corruption, we are emboldened to dismantle its chains by non-participation in criminal acts or activities which are of a corrupt nature. It is heartening to know that we are not daunted. It will take the efforts of all in this fight…The youth will have to take the lead, because they are vibrant, talented and the masters of social media, which has proven to be a powerful tool in this fight,” Mr. Harrison said.

Justice Minister Mark Golding, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Mr Colin Bullock, and Deputy Director General of the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, Mr. Selvin Hay, also gave remarks in which they supported the messages of anti-corruption and importance of educating the youth about this issue.

Later in the morning, about 80 young people participated in a panel discussion on corruption held at the Edith Dalton James High School in Kingston. A similar event was organized at Cornwall College in Montego Bay. At the Kingston Youth forum a panel of experts shared information on various aspects of corruption and interacted with the youthful audience in a lively session chaired by facilitator Emprezz Golding.

In her remarks at that forum, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, said the use of the students’ poster by the OCG to spread the anti-corruption message was proof that young people are able to do something about the problem of corruption.

“I want to say to the young people here today that this is just one example of the power they have to address the issue of corruption.  Youth can use their talent, creativity, imagination, education and training to spread the word about communication, its negative impacts and the need to break the corruption chain at all levels. This is why UNDP is delighted to support this Youth Forum, which the OCG has organised to educate Jamaica’s students and young people about corruption,” Dr. Laurence-Chounoune stated.

Later in the evening UNDP hosted a film screening and discussion to mark Anti-Corruption Day. The focus was on human trafficking and links with corruption. The event was attended by staff as well as by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Ms Carol Palmer and the Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison.

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