The three commissions responsible for regulating Jamaica’s gambling industry have taken steps to strengthen the culture of integrity, cement the standards of good governance and combat corruption in their organisations.
They are the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) and the Casino Gaming Commission (CGC).
Staff of these entities recently completed training delivered by the Integrity Commission through its newly operationalised Corruption Prevention, Stakeholder Engagement and Anti-Corruption Strategy Division.
Under Section 6 of the Integrity Commission Act of 2017, the Division is mandated to, among other things, educate the public on matters relating to acts of corruption.
Modules covered in the workshop include, the Problem of Corruption from a Global and Local Perspective; the Principles of Good Governance; an examination of elements of the Government of Jamaica’s Corporate Governance Framework and the Public Bodies Management & Accountability Act; examination of the issues surrounding the guidance on identification, avoidance and management of conflicts of interest; and the role, responsibilities and duties of public officers.
Director, Corruption Prevention, Stakeholder Engagement and Anti-Corruption Strategy, Integrity Commission, Ryan Evans, told JIS News that the commissions are the first to participate in its Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Sensitisation Workshops since the Division became operationalised in June 2021.
He informed that the sessions focused on the “seven principles of public life” namely, integrity, selflessness, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership.
“We want to impart those principles – issues of accountability, how as public servants we should be accountable, open and transparent, honest [and] embody the principles of public life in how we execute our tasks and responsibilities,” said Mr. Evans.
Executive Director, BGLC, Vitus Evans, said that for the organisation, which regulates the entire gaming industry in Jamaica, “it is of paramount importance that our staff are fully aware and are trained on the integrity issues”.
He emphasised the greater importance of integrity over competence in the performance of the duties by the Commissions’ team members.
“By the very nature of this industry, we know that our staff will be exposed to certain offers and there certainly will be a thin line between what may be considered as a conflict of interest, as opposed to actually seen to be offending a client, who may feel that they are making a genuine offer to reward a member of staff for their good work,” said Mr. Evans.
For his part, General Manager, Jamaica Racing Commission, Richard Longmore, noted that the response from his staff has been “tremendous” in terms of what they have learned.
He indicated that based on feedback, staff members were not “fully aware” of all the things that may be termed as corruption. However, the training has now put them in a position to identify various types of corruption.
“We are operating in a multinational environment… the sad truth about it is [that] the industry in which we operate is one of the high-risk industries for corruption, so we have to be very aware and proactive,” said Mr. Longmore.
The BGLC regulates the betting, gaming and lottery segments of Jamaica’s gambling industry, with the JRC being regulators of horseracing, while the CGC is charged with regulatory oversight for the casino gambling sector.