Remarks to International Anti-Corruption Day Celebrations 2016: UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune

Dec 2, 2016


  • Our host, Contractor General, Mr. Dirk Harrison
  • Ms. Carol Hart, representing the High Commissioner of Canada
  • Mr. Achim Schafer representing the Ambassador/ Head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica
  • Ms. Audrey Gentles-McCallum, for Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Youth & Information
  • Ms. Graceann Stewart-McFarlane for Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice
  • Ms. Paula Llewellyn, Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Mr. Carl Williams, Commissioner of Police
  • Mr. Bruno Pouezat, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Ms. Renee Herrera for General Manager Caribbean/Country Representative Jamaica, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Mrs. Arlene Harrison-Henry, Public Defender
  • Mrs. Diahann Gordon Harrison, Children's Advocate
  • Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson, Bishop of Kingston   
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,  Boys and Girls


The fight against corruption begins with you!-Jamaica’s bold and declarative theme for Anti-Corruption Day signals that the fight against the invasive threat of corruption starts with each of us.

We owe it to ourselves and our children to carry our personal responsibility to the shared ideals of equity and fairness; first, by doing right by the rules and laws that govern our nations, and also by doing our part to encourage others to do likewise.

Then, together we must become a united force. The 2016 international theme– “Corruption: An impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals” – calls on us to unite against corruption for development, peace and security, recognizing that corruption is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – the (SDGs).

These impediments to meaningful development were effectively summarised by the UN Secretary-General in his 2009 statement for International Anti-Corruption Day:

"When public money is stolen for private gain, it means fewer resources to build schools, hospitals, roads and water treatment facilities. When foreign aid is diverted into private bank accounts, major infrastructure projects come to a halt. Corruption enables fake or substandard medicines to be dumped on the market, and hazardous waste to be dumped in landfill sites and in oceans. The vulnerable suffer first and worst."

In developing countries – according to a 2011 United Nations Development Programme report on fighting corruption in the water sector – funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance[1].

Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune. The evidence tells us that no country, region or community can secure its human development aspirations if the status quo remains unchanged.

SDGs set targets that are designed to protect our development aspirations from the threats posed by forces of corruption. They set out to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, to provide access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

This year UNDP has partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop a joint global campaign for International Anti-Corruption Day, focusing on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development. We have seized this opportunity to amplify our anti-corruption message and to rally citizens around the world to play their part.  The international campaign gives us a few tips on how we can achieve this:

Know what the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, ratified by Jamaica in 2008, requires of your government and officials.

  • Raise awareness about the costs of corruption for key services
  • Report incidents of corruption
  • Create an environment where the rule of law prevails and where there is zero-tolerance towards corruption
  • Refuse to participate in any activities that are not legal and transparent.

The UNDP and UNODC tips also make special place for youth education and outreach, recognizing that a culture rooted in the rule of law is best fostered during the formative years when values are still being shaped.

I therefore congratulate the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and partners for their vision in engaging students from the primary, secondary and tertiary level in the international celebrations through awareness activities including a song and jingle competition. They will bring energy, vigour, diverse and fresh ideas to your deliberations. Further, I believe that as you seek to understand the prevailing attitudes and perceptions of young people in your survey – findings of which you unveil today – you will establish a sound foundation on which to build an effective and robust public education intervention capable of fostering a brand new status quo.

Young people, your energy is just what we need. I urge you, do not just do what is right, but fight for what is right. Learn what constitutes ethical behaviour, how to recognize corruption, how to personally live a model life and how to engage with others to fight corruption. Demand your right to education; then as a powerful unit, young people, make it known that you expect corruption free societies so that you can enjoy a brighter future.

Jamaica has accomplished much by establishing institutional arrangements, mechanisms and regulations, including its ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption and continued self-assessments of progress in implementing its relevant provisions. However, the country still has some work to do.

To this end, UNDP continues to offer its support to Jamaica, as well as on issues of governance, access to justice and citizen participation in pursuit of a corruption free society.  We are delighted to join with you today to celebrate this special day on the international calendar.

I end with the words of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his 2016 message: “On International Anti-corruption Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to ending the deceit and dishonesty that threaten the 2030 Agenda and our efforts to achieve peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.”



[1]UNDP. 2011. ‘Fighting Corruption in the Water Sector: Methods, Tools and Good Practices’.

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