NASSAU, The Bahamas – A Commission of the Anti-Corruption Mechanism of the Organization of American States (OAS) held an “on-site” visit to The Bahamas from September 23 to 25 with the country’s consent, as part of the analysis that the mechanism carries out in accordance with the methodology adopted by consensus among its member countries.
The Commission of the Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) was made up of Tatiana Gutiérrez Delgado, Lead Expert of Costa Rica to the Committee of Experts of the MESICIC and Public Ethics Prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office, and Rodrigo Silva, Officer in the Department of Legal Cooperation of the OAS General Secretariat.
Prior to the beginning of the visit, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs for The Bahamas, Allyson Maynard Gibson, welcomed the Commission and highlighted the importance and significance to The Bahamas of the on-site visit as part of the efforts carried out by the OAS, through the MESICIC, in the fight against corruption.
During the three day visit, meetings were held with representatives of the Office of the Attorney General, the Public Disclosure Commission, the Office of the Auditor General, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Compliance Commission, and the Public Accounts Committee, in order to obtain objective and complete information and reveal potential difficulties in the implementation of the Inter-American Convention. The team also obtained information on the implementation of the recommendations that were formulated by the MESICIC to The Bahamas in the First Round, pertaining, among other issues, to the prevention of conflicts of interest and post-employment restrictions; systems for registering income, assets and liabilities of public servants; and the regime for access to information.
The team also had the opportunity to meet with civil society and private sector organizations in order to obtain their perspectives on the role of said oversight bodies in the fight against corruption.
The results of this visit form part of the review process for the Fourth Round that is currently being carried out by the Committee of Experts of the MESICIC, which will conclude with the adoption of The Bahamas country report by the Committee at its next plenary meeting to be held in March 2015, at OAS headquarters in Washington DC.
The MESICIC is a cooperation mechanism between States, with the participation of civil society organizations, established within the framework of the OAS, in which the legal/institutional framework of each country is reviewed for suitability with the Inter-American Convention against Corruption as well as the objective results achieved therein. The incorporation of on-site visits as a stage and integral part of the MESICIC review process represents an innovative and pioneering initiative in the context of the OAS, especially for a peer review mechanism and the importance of the issues it addresses.