UN corruption convention to extend to Cayman

| 10/12/2020 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): The UK government is extending its ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption to the Cayman Islands. The convention is aimed at developing a comprehensive response to the global problems associated with corruption and how to implement preventive measures and enforcement. The local Anti-Corruption Commission said the extension will provide it with another tool to combat corruption here.

In a press release marking this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, Governor Martyn Roper welcomed the announcement and said the notification of extension had been sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“The Convention is the only legally binding international anti-corruption instrument and a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem,” Roper said. “The extension demonstrates international recognition that the Cayman Islands has the necessary good governance policies and mechanisms in place to address corruption domestically and internationally.”

The governor added that the work of the local Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Commission for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) will help Cayman continue to make notable strides toward stability, prosperity and good governance.

While Cayman now has an array of tools to deal with corruption and uphold integrity in governance, critics say that they are being used to target low hanging fruit and not at where the real corruption lies in the jurisdiction. While the ACC, which has been in existence for ten years and some say is massively underfunded, continues to work on a number of cases, these are mostly against frontline public sector workers involved in low level thefts or scams.

The first person ever convicted under the legislation was a women at the bottom of the socioeconomic pile, originally from Cuba, who had never gone through the process of naturalizing, despite being married to a Caymanian for many years. When her husband became seriously ill she needed a Caymanian passport to enable her to take him to Miami, but she was accused of offering the women at the government counter $100 to speed up the process.

There have been no corruption prosecutions of any real significance. Even the trial relating to the large immigration scam, in which several immigration officers were convicted for taking money for steering Spanish speakers through the English test, revolved around only a few thousand dollars. That case too appeared to have missed the much more concerning underlying crime of trafficking women into Cayman to work in local bars.

The extension of the treaty, which came into force globally in 2005, to Cayman will mean the ACC here will enjoy greater global cooperation. It is widely accepted as the international framework guiding the fight against corruption. ACC Chairperson Sophia Harris said it would provide the commission with a legal framework of cooperation with 185 other member states.

“The Commission continues to grow from strength to strength and the forthcoming extension of the convention speaks to the calibre of work being carried out in our jurisdiction and will provide the commission with a further tool to combat corruption, and to promote integrity and accountability throughout the Cayman Islands,” she said.

The ACC said in the release that 2020 had been a challenging, complex and disruptive year for most countries and the theme of this year’s Anti-Corruption Day was “Recover with integrity”. Countries around the world are looking to develop plans to reopen under a “new normal” and states are encouraged to move forward with accountability.

Meanwhile, it took years for the Standards in Public Life Law (the sister legislation to the ACC law) to come into effect, which finally happened this year. In its message for the global Anti-Corruption Day, the CSPL pointed to the importance of that legislation in the anti-corruption fight.

“These pieces of legislation seek to assist with establishing and promoting a high standard of integrity and accountability for persons in public life through the introduction of a wide range of measures to prevent conflicts of interest,” officials said. “One such measure is the collection… of declarations of interest, income, assets and liabilities from persons in public life.”

The CSPL began receiving declarations for the year ending 30 June from people in public life. While these interest can be viewed by members of the public, there are conditions. People are requested to call first to ensure that someone is available at the commission’s office to retrieve the binders holding the declarations, which are sorted in alphabetical order rather than by roles, such as ministers, MPs, board members and senior civil servants.

No copying or recording devices are allowed, and while notes can be taken by those reviewing the files, this must be done with a pencil.

The CSPL also has a role in upholding the integrity and standards of behaviour of the country’s leaders. But so far the commission has made no comment about the position of Speaker McKeeva Bush, who has refused to step down from his prestigious role despite his admission in court last week to a violent assault against a female bar manager and the detailed revelations of his behaviour.

CNS has requested comment from the commission and we are awaiting a response.

Members of the public are encouraged to report any suspicions of corruption with any supporting evidence to the ACC. Reports can be made in person or anonymously. Civil servants are also reminded of their obligation to report any suspicion of corruption to the ACC as soon as they become aware.

For more information visit the ACC website.

See both messages from the ACC and CSPL in the CNS Library.

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Corruption campaign not needed…we already have lots!

  2. Johann Moxam says:

    In my opinion, unfortunately, corruption is systemic in the Cayman Islands…

    CNS: The rest of this comment is posted here.

  3. Cayman’s Corruption Utopia says:

    Please spare us Brother Roper your Convenient blindness is stomach turning and inaction in the face of blatant corrupt that is going on all around you is mind boggling.! just more double talk where the ends justify the means eh Sir??

  4. Anonymous says:

    Gigantic bullshit!

  5. anon says:

    How about legislation to confiscate unexplained assets, I believe this has been adopted in the U.K.

    • Anonymous says:

      including foreign assets…there’s a reason Cayman didn’t ask for reciprocal reporting on FATCA…lots of stuff in T&C and Panama as well I’ve heard.

  6. Anonymous says:

    UN is one of the most corrupt organizations on earth. What bullshit are they saying now?

  7. Anonymous says:

    ACC and CSPL are nose-blind to the stench from Parliamentary reps, let alone the Central Planning Authority, Lands and Survey, Port Authority, Health Authority, National Roads Authority, CIAA/CAL and Turtle Farm, just to name a few. This is a government that has admitted to spending hundreds of thousands in public cash, on international anti-truth and anti-democracy lobbyists. What kind of a smoking gun are they looking for?

  8. Corruption is endemic says:

    in Cayman

  9. The Commission on Standards in Public Life has been a sick joke ever since the Law was passed. I don’t know why they bothered, really.

    • Anonymous says:

      Folks all of the commissions members are from the private sector. So why are you saying they are not doing a good job??

  10. Bertie : B says:

    Sure thing , send the foxes to guard the hen house SMH . What a Joke .

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