Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) President Dr Warren Smith on Monday used the forum given to him on the opening day of the first two-day Caribbean Conference on Corruption, Compliance and Cybercrime to target “those who are trying to avoid systems and processes,” asserting that it was essential that organizations such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) use a variety of strategies to stay ahead of those trying to “bypass systems and processes”.
In what was clearly a thin reference to challenges associated with ensuring accountability in the payment of development funding and crisis relief arising from financial institutions, Smith said the COVID-19 rampant pandemic had given focus to what who described as the thorn and constantly the evolving nature of pollution and how it can reverse development gains in the region.
In a presentation that appeared anchored to the theme of corruption in a crisis environment currently being expressed by the Heads of international organizations in a recent succession of virtual conferences on COVID-19 crisis management, Smith sought to remind governments and populations in the region that one of the shocking tragedies of the advent of the coronavirus is that it has created the conditions in which pollution is flourishing and has given focus to the drained and persistent nature of the phenomenon and how it can erode development gains in the region.
With COVID-19 creating a significantly higher need for channeling financial aid and other forms of support to hard-hit countries, including those in the Caribbean, Smith told the forum that the reality of the pandemic is opening up new avenues for system exploitation. with weak supervision. The conference was staged against the backdrop of the growing need for countries in the region to make credible cases for attracting international financial support in their fight against the global pandemic in circumstances where there has been no global clamor for support from the ever more acute, and in circumstances where multilateral funding institutions had begun to attach anti-corruption criteria when allocating resources to countries seeking support.
Arguing that corruption is an “eternal problem” with “a remarkable ability to reinvent,” Smith said it is important that organizations like the CDB use a variety of strategies to stay ahead of those trying to “avoid systems and processes ”.
“Corruption is important, even when it is not in our peripheral vision. It is important for governments and corporate leaders because of how quickly it can lead to significant financial and reputational damage and slow down economic development. It is important to our youth, the next generation of employers, employees and service providers who will face constant temptation when they enter the workplace, and sometimes, even earlier. And it is important for our citizens who pay the price for pollution through reductions in the quantity and quality of social services, decaying infrastructure, and inefficient state institutions, ”argued the CDB President.
Trying to paint with a broad brush, the forum discussed a range of corruption-related issues including anti-money laundering, counteracting terrorist financing, sanctioning compliance risks, blacklisting, and dealing with illegal financial flows.