Anti-Corruption Bill, 2023, Addresses the High Costs of Corruption, Says Minister Maynard
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 22, 2023 (SKNIS) – The Honourable Konris Maynard delivered a powerful presentation during the National Assembly today, Wednesday, February 22, 2023, in support of the Anti-Corruption Bill, 2023, which he described as an “incremental step along the journey of good governance.”
The Honourable Minister used part of his presentation to illustrate to the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis the high costs to national development associated with corruption in the public service.
“One of the major threats to developing countries, sometimes singular in nature, is the cost of corruption, and the global cost…is about 2 trillion dollars that can take over the economies of thriving countries and lift 1.4 billion people out of poverty for six years. That is the cost of corruption. The Honourable [Attorney General] mentioned that of the approximately 13 trillion US dollars that the government spends on public spending, 25 percent of it is lost to corruption and that is really around the global figure. Where there are not sufficiently strong anti-corruption legislation and practices it is about 30 percent or thereabout,” Minister Maynard stressed.
The Honourable Member for St. Christopher Three stated further that the monies lost to corruption can have dire impacts on the everyday lives of many persons, particularly those who may fall below the poverty line.
“It means that by implementing measures in an incremental way you will now be able to direct public funding to critical elements of your society including education,” said Minister Maynard. “So, take for instance the Member from [St. Christopher] Number One who mentioned that there was $14 million spent on managing dirt for the new Basseterre High School. [Do] you want to tell me that that $14 million could not then have purchased all the laptops we need for our high schools for 28 years? That is the cost of corruption.”
With the tabling of the Anti-Corruption Bill, 2023, Minister Maynard said resources in St. Kitts and Nevis will now be used for their intended purposes only.
He said, “This is a bold but necessary step to ensure that your tax dollars and our tax dollars that we pay can be rightly channeled to things that affect everyone.”
Minister Maynard said the administration is aware that the Anti-Corruption Bill, 2023 is not perfect, noting that “as we begin to exercise tenets of the legislation, we will become more informed in order to tweak it as much as possible to our situation here in our Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”