by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “Money lost to corruption is development denied to those who need it most”, says Kevin Hope, Executive Director, St Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SKNCIC), in a presentation on corruption.
Hope continued by saying that corruption is a symptom of poor governance and is a tax on the poor.
In the presentation shared with WINN FM, Hope describes the effects of corruption, saying that “Corruption, and weak governance in general, undermine government revenues, result in poor infrastructure, and hinder the pace of poverty reduction. It also contributes to inequalities in access to education, health, infrastructure, and other productive assets.”
Hope made that presentation at the 8th Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies hosted in St. Kitts from May 23-27, ending with the Association’s annual general meeting.
Hope, in his presentation, alluded to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which would lead to the end of poverty by 2030 requiring financing of $2.5 trillion per year in developing countries alone.
According to the World Economic Forum, the estimate for the global cost of assets stolen due to corruption is $2.6 trillion per year, the same amount needed to finance the SDGs.
The executive director suggests that governance can only be improved via coordinated efforts among government, businesses, civil society, and international institutions. He shared that the Chamber will provide technical support in partnership with our development partners to companies in developing policies and programmes to address all forms of corruption.
On a small to medium business level, Hope encourages businesses to build an internal culture to dissuade corruption practices which include internal auditing, compliance controls and training on compliance with some incentives like entertainment and travel reimbursement policies of the company pre-approval process for discounts, gifts, travel, entertainment, and charitable contributions,
Hope closed his presentation by saying, “When good public governance is matched by good corporate governance, the impact of development is magnified.”
He made a call to action for an active approach to the fight against corruption:
• Support initiatives to fight corruption, such as those presented today
• Strengthen governance and anticorruption practices within our firms and organisations, and
• Work with companies that have ethical business practices
The conference’s theme is “Controlling Corruption: Preventative Mechanisms work better than Reactive Measures”, and held under the patronage of The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, QC of Dominica, the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General.