Today, the T&T Transparency Institute (TTTI) joins the world in observing International Anti-Corruption Day.
To this end, in a press release to mark Anti-Corruption Day 2019, TTTI said that while the Parliament has made efforts in enacting anti-corruption legislation, such as the passage of the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill, 2019, as well as the removal of the Anti-corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) from under the purview of the Ministry of the Attorney General to the Commissioner of Police, more has to be done.
“TTTI also notes the recent analysis of country evaluations issued by the global anti-money laundering regulator, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which highlighted Trinidad and Tobago as the only country who fully complies with the FATF requirements for governments to ensure that authorities can quickly find out who the real or ‘beneficial’ owners of companies registered in their territory are. Additionally, TTTI encourages the Government to take tangible steps to achieve active/compliant status under the Open Government Partnership (OGP). As this country has been listed as ‘inactive in the OGP due to acting contrary to OGP process for three consecutive years.’
“TTTI remains devoted to seeking ways to reduce, if not eliminate corruption from T&T. Countering corruption requires cooperation from all Parliament officials, sectors/organisations and every citizen of T&T,” the release stated.
As such, in recognition of today being Anti-Corruption Day, the organisation was calling on citizens and organisations to join them in the fight against corruption.
“Together we can make the difference in building a stronger, more equitable society, through greater transparency, accountability and freedom from corruption,” the release read.
What is corruption?
Corruption is defined by Transparency International (TI) as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. It intensifies poverty, violates human rights, undermines our democracy, causes environmental damage, is a barrier to economic development, and has long been a tool of organised crime.
It was further stared the TTTI, the national chapter of Transparency International, worked for “a world in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption”.
“TTTI as an NGO has been seeking to fulfil its mandate through advocacy and public education on matters of anti-corruption and 2019 marks TTTI’s 21st anniversary in leading the fight against corruption in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of TTTI’s key activities include : the launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index each year; operating Integrity Clubs in secondary schools; advocating for reform and proclamation of key anti-corruption legislation; hosting an Annual Anti-Corruption Conference on relevant topics; consultations with civil society organisations utilising our Civil Society Toolkit; operating our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) which provides free legal advice to witnesses and victims of corruption; lobbying for transparency and accountability in the collection of energy sector revenues as a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI),” the release explained.
In December 2018, the TTTI launched the Business Integrity Country Agenda (BICA) Report, with a view to reducing corruption in the business environment. The BICA report was collated from extensive research, including interviews and data analysis from all stakeholders and captains of the business industry. The report provides a reference point for collective action involving government, the business sector and civil society, in a concerted effort to promote business integrity in T&T.