Integrity, what it means and how we can promote it

Mieke de Droog, the Dean Faculty of Arts and Science, UA, helped organize an interactive workshop titled: Towards integrity in Aruba. The workshop was held this week, it is a first in a series, with about fifty people in attendance, with no particular political affiliation.

The interactive workshop was based on the findings of the National Integrity System Assessment, NIS, an assessment conducted with the aim of setting up a National Integrity Program.

Efficiently facilitated by Blanca Peters with dr. Willeke Slingerland as guest speaker, background remarks were provided by the founder of SDBA, Foundation Good Governance Aruba, Armand Hessels.

Armand started with the definition of integrity: Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain – Unknown
Armand reported that Last April, with the consent of the Government of Aruba, the National Integrity System Assessment was published. The NIS assessment now provides a framework to analyze the effectiveness of Aruba’s institutions in preventing and fighting corruption and in nurturing transparency and integrity. The NIS report is an in-depth assessment with very important conclusions and recommendations, how to reinforce the Aruban national integrity systems.

The first recommendation in the report indicated that there is no ‘quick fix’, nor true and tried formula to change a national integrity system overnight. Nevertheless, any small step in the direction of strengthening integrity, reinforces all other areas.

Therefore, it is important, the report confirmed, for representatives of all sectors to acknowledge that any good initiative can be the beginning of a reinforced Aruban NIS.

The gathering at La Cabana ‘s ballroom this week, was the beginning of a series of encounters designed to write a modest road map for the complex issue wrestled with across the globe.

One of the NIS report recommendations was for the public and private sectors, together with civil society organizations to work together to crack down on corruption and elevate the level of integrity.

The NIS assessment and recommendations inspired four distinguished organizations, SDBA, Hope Aruba, Saxion Hogeschool in the Netherlands and the University of Aruba to take the first concrete steps in combining forces in the interest of the island’s future.

During the interactive workshop, yesterday, dr. Willeke Slingerland, shared the conclusions and recommendations from the report by Zoom, following an interactive exchange of four work groups, facilitated by Bianca Peters.

The smaller groups worked at identifying main priorities concerning integrity within the social, economic, cultural and public domains.

I had the pleasure to contribute to the Economic Domain. My round-table colleagues, a diverse group of professionals, made much sense, and we wrote our ideas up, and presented to the forum, in an atmosphere of genuine collaboration.

Mieke de Droog, on behalf of organizers, reiterated that a grassroot approach, will help build a National Integrity Program, achieved together, step by step, as a joint effort, and will result in reinforced national integrity systems on the island.

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October 13, 2022
Rona Coster