Political scientist examines corruption in public life

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Political scientist examines corruption in public life

(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – As several countries in the region hold or plan to hold general elections this year, a publication has just been released which examines some critical political and governance issues for Caribbean countries, including the broader matter of corruption in public life.

Senior lecturer in Political Science at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Cynthia Barrow-Giles analyses the issues in her just-released work The National Integrity System and Governance in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

The book which is published by Carib Research & Publications Inc. ([email protected]) examines the concept of the National Integrity System developed by Transparency International, and it considers some of the major issues of integrity in Governance identified in this concept. It then applies these ideas to an analysis and understanding of the function of National Integrity Systems in the Commonwealth Caribbean. In doing this the book examines regional and global best practices and discusses the deficiencies in integrity systems in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Its core thesis is that a well-functioning integrity system will contribute to good governance through checks and balances, oversight, transparent processes and accountability of office. The book argues that the establishment and strengthening of integrity systems do not only demand an identification of the opportunities for the reinforcement of various pillars of the National Integrity system (NIS), but that these will fight against the scourge of corruption.

While the book focuses primarily on state institutions, processes and activities, it also assesses the private sector, political parties, the media and civil society as critical ingredients in the nexus between a poorly functioning national integrity system and corruption.

Fellow Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at The University of the West Indies ( UWI), Cave Hill, Dr. Tennyson Joseph, says Barrow-Giles’ publication “makes an important contribution to political science, public policy, governance and constitutional development research in the Caribbean.”

“[The] author comes to her subject with the perfect combination of lived professional experience and academic research. Having served as OAS and Commonwealth elections observer in several parliamentary and presidential elections in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia over the past ten years, currently a member of Integrity Group Barbados (IGB) a civil society grouping, and also having sat on at least one constitution review commission in the Caribbean (St. Lucia), in addition to having undertaken several research projects on corruption, election campaign financing, governance and gender equity, Barrow-Giles hones in on a number of institutional and political-cultural features and systems which need to be addressed in resolving the persistent and endemic features of corruption in Caribbean public life.”

“One of the strengths of the book is its mastery of the Caribbean institutional environment necessary for studying and resolving issues of corruption. The author, for example provides useful empirical data on campaign financing, the institutional checks and balances, and existing legislative framework that complements any theoretical or speculative commentary on governance in the Caribbean.

The more than 20 tables and illustrations that pepper the pages of the book attest to its grounding in empiricism and concrete data. Similarly, in the introduction she provides in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, the intuitional variables which must be taken into account in understanding the National Integrity System.

In this regard, the book is a useful study on the Caribbean institutional environment, and as such, it provides a useful balance to Caribbean political science research in a context where many of the existing UWI studies have had a historical, theoretical, philosophical and speculative bias.

While congratulating the author on a valuable contribution to Caribbean political development, Joseph suggested that another main contribution of the book is its utility to practitioners.

“Barrow-Giles not only highlights the existing challenges of corruption, but in doing so, provides useful alternatives for strengthening existing systems. This makes the book more than an academic study, but equally qualifies it as a guidebook for practitioners. The book will be of great value to constitutional and legal reformers, civil society agencies interested in governance issues, development agencies, students of Caribbean politics, public officials and citizens as a whole.”

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