Our Governance System and Politicians – When Freedom of Information is Fiction

It is appropriate BU returns to the issue of Freedom of Information (FOI) on the second anniversary of death of former Prime Minister David Thompson. The promise that FOI and Integrity Legislation would have been introduced by this government early in its term swayed BU and we supported the DLP in 2007. Sadly the government has not demonstrated the political will to implement transparency legislation. Five years later it is fair to describe the promise as a gimmick to win votes.

A big disappointment also has been the hypocrisy by local media concerning its reluctance to report on this matter. The Fourth Estate as a key member of civil society and should have identified the lack of FOI legislation as a natural cause given the nature of its business.

The short video confirms the importance of investigative journalism in a democratic system of government. Bear in mind FOI laws are on the books in the United Kingdom and Heather Brooke had to fight to unearth information which the public was entitled to know.  When the information was eventually made public it resulted in several members of parliament being sent to prison.

In Barbados we continue to allow politicians to undermine the governance system.

0 responses to “Our Governance System and Politicians – When Freedom of Information is Fiction

  1. Harry callihan

    Lt John Taylor in British Army in Barbados since 1630 .
    my ancestors before any of you imports was around fight the french etc
    and my grand mothers brother ” king” was a fighter pilot in the British army and was shot down over Germany and died for your freedom.
    what you got to tell me buster.what have you johnny come lately s got to say.
    thanks for messing up my island with your thieving nasty . selves.

  2. Harry callihan

    david not of bu that answer any questions for you!
    what did you do for barbados?
    when the war come you going to need men like me
    not pussie_like you.

  3. @ac

    The purpose of FOI legislation is to provide an environment where wrongdoing does not flourish because, as it is said, sunlight is the best antiseptic. Your defense of the status quo because your party is in power is therefore both silly and shortsighted.

    In the current BWA case, it has now come to light that the attorneys for Innotech and Ansa Merchant Bank charged only $280,000 in all for their work on the building project, whereas we know that Hal Gollop charged the government (i.e. the taxpayers like you and me) $1.5 million for his work on behalf of the BWA.

    ac, you know in your heart that is not right, and that to keep this information hidden would not be in the best interest of Barbados.

    Aside from holding up wrongdoing to the light day, FOI legislation would also help protect the honest and the innocent from scandalous rumours by placing all of the necessary information in the public domain.

  4. It is interesting tonight to hear Prime Minister Stuart stating that he disagrees with public documents being leaked, to hell if it is in the public interest. Perhaps if the government had implemented FOI we would not be having this conversation.

  5. How can the PM be pushing a high morality as far as protecting information yet his government has failed to enact FOI and integrity legislation as promised. Legislation which does not require great financial resources to implement, only the will. Isn’t this hypocrisy?

  6. David B do you understand what goverance is all about. do you understand the meaning of the words ethical and moral does that simply goes out the window when stealing justify the means, do you understand the ministers in government are there to be examples and not folllowers i mean a thief by any name is simply a thief no matter what the justification that follows and in my humble opinion the BLP led now by a leader who has subcribe and codones such illegal practices has stooped to the very low as he continues to try to rewrite history slidding down that slippery slope into the path of corruption i guess he cannot but help himself,

  7. David wrote “Prime Minister Stuart stating that he disagrees with public documents being leaked”

    This is the age of leaks. The PM will have to adjust to the new norm.

  8. @Hants

    PM Stuart will not change.

  9. David your quest for “FOI and Integrity leglislation is noble and right.

    However I am willing to bet that only han to mout or power hungry Bajans will run for political office.

    Be careful what you ask for.lol.

  10. Earlier this year, I heard Senator Maxine McClean in the Senate trying to equate the leaking of the CLICO report with a State secret and trying to invoke the safety of the State.

    There seems to be a sense of desperation on the part of this government that I cannot remember ever seeing in any past government of Barbados.Desperate people can become very dangerous, so we have to keep our eyes open.

  11. @Hants

    If we have to be fearful of not doing the right thing for the reason you fear then God help us.

  12. David wrote “PM Stuart will not change.”

    He won’t be able to stop the leaks either. In this age of computers and anonymous blogging there will be leaks.

  13. Hants

    You seem to have the cart before the horse. “Han to mout” power hungry politicians did run for office and that is why we can’t have integrity and freedom of information legislation as promised. They have to catch their hands first.

  14. david you know that the majority of Bajan politicians past and present are in politics for the wrong reasons.

    The b e about “wanting to serve the people” is just spin.

    The majority are in politics for power and personal gain. Very few have noble intentions

    I absolutely support your call for FOI and Integrity legislation and it should be implemented.

  15. FOI and Integrity legislation could decrease the number of lawyers in politics and that would be a good thing.

  16. @ac

    It seems that you are the one who has no understanding about governance, ethics and morality.

    The hallmark of good governance is transparency and accountability, not hiding the misdeeds and malfeasance of the ruling clique.

    Equating a leaked document that shows taxpayers how their interests are being compromised and eroded with stealing beggars belief. Your moral compass surely points south.

    The right of the people to know is paramount and can only be overridden in exceptional circumstances. Your backward looking perspective hallows the dingy backroom deals and schemes that bleed this country and undermine our democracy.

  17. govt leaks are not new but it is very distrubing when a minister of high level like OSA participates and condones such illict and illegal practices that is where the problem lies.

  18. Someone once said that the last person to enter parliament with honest intent was Guy Fawkes.

  19. AC; You obviously have a very high regard for David Thompson. So what are your views on the honesty and legality of the many leaks and contrived leaks that he used throughout his career to try successfully or unsuccessfully to bring down opposition politicians and even innocent bystanders?

    All uh dem is de same. Its all a game. Freundel is no better than DT or OSA in this regard.

  20. one must be careful of the amount of power given to govt officials because the same power weilded in the disguise of FOI can be the same power weilded illegally to spy on its citizens.; there is always a thin line between truth and perception and govt always have the advantage when it is allowed to become footloose and fancy free,

  21. @ac

    The DLP promised to enact FOI in 100 days. By your comment you agree that they lied to Barbadians?

  22. Harry callihan

    horse sh_t–mumble mumble /do nothing.boring

  23. @ ac

    David Thompson was a Minister of Finance in the Sandiford administration; not so? A large part of his 2007/2008 campaign was based on the Hardwood leaks. He even brought a no-confidence motion against the then government and the DLP boycotted Parliament on the basis of those leaks. You remember all of this, right?

    There was supposed to be a commission of inquiry within 100 days of the DLP attaining office, but nothing materialised because it was all an empty, concocted issue fabricated for political gain.

    The tragedy is that in his quest for power David Thompson, your saint and hero, ended up engineering the demise of a small business and destroying the livelihood of small black entrepreneur and his family. No other politician has been as rabid or as ruthless as he was in his pursuit of power.

    Your hypocrisy is on full display for the world to see; so spare us your new found “righteousness” and false integrity.

  24. millertheanunnaki

    @ DavidB | October 29, 2012 at 6:33 AM |

    Thanks, DavidB, for helping to further expose this piece of intellectual vermin.
    For so long I have been the lone standard bearer of truth like a light in the wilderness of darkness overrun by ac’s wicked deceitful lying double standards.

    Now you see why the miller has to be a bit acerbic when it comes to ac. Only a tsunami of truth can destroy ac’s modus operandi to discredit OSA and blame the man for everything that has gone wrong in the last 4 1/2 years.

    The DLP administration’s failure to enact FOI and I L is now being blamed on OSA.

    The CLICO debacle is now Mia Mottley’s fault because she and OSA forced the government to put that company under Judicial Management.
    Now that’s something that should be punished with laughter!

  25. David b …….so if all of what you stated is true in your above comment does it give sufficient justification for a continuance of such illegal practices especially coming from a former PM shouldn,t our country be setting standards wether or not FOI is enacted and not be laughed and scorned on in the international world. are our leaders no longer expected to set good examples for others to follow. shouldn,t we the citizens demand better.or are we content to live in filth until the house falls down

  26. old onion bags

    @ Miller
    ….not forgetting Horace’s..”.mountains labored and gave birth to mice”…a prodigy indeed these DLP yardbirds….LoL

  27. @ ac

    It’s you who are on about illegality. I am all for leaks and documents blowing off the back of trucks, in the name of keeping the government of the day on its toes and keeping the public informed.

    My critique of the Hardwood affair, then as now, is that it was an empty issue and political spin. I had no problem with the source of the information.

  28. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | October 29, 2012 at 9:01 AM |

    The PM, your political party leader, is begging Bajans not to change the government.
    He refers to the countries that have changed governments since 2008 but are still experiencing economic difficulties. But quite conveniently he fails to mention Trinidad and Tobago.
    The reason for asking Bajans to keep the DLP in power is that the country at this stage needs people of integrity and character.
    Can you, ac, tell us whom he is referring to?

    Is he referring to Denis Lowe, Michael Lashley, Kenny Best, Chris Sinckler?
    I
    Is he referring to his pal and advisor Leroy Parris? Do you know if he, Greenverbs, has yet paid one red cent in income on those gratuity payments?

    Is he referring to Hal Gollop and his $1.5 million legal fees demand? Can we expect this amount to attract VAT & income tax? After all he is a man that has expressed high moral compunctions in his dealings. And while others are charging less than $300,000 for a legal job he Mr. High Morals is asking the public of Barbados to pay $1.5 million for the same job in these harsh economic times.

    Is he referring to Donville Inniss and his offshore business interest in suspect areas where animals fear to tread in the land of pornville?

  29. @david……….wasn.t a bill drafted in parliament under David thompson in2008 and handed to an advisory comittee for further rules and reccomendations i meaning our country is in real trouble when those we put in charge cannot discerne right from wrong and our citizens condone such behaviour

  30. @ miller…..
    A person of your intelligence , if you do not intend to be slanderous and misleading , should be able to conclude that there is no way that a department of government would pay one lawyer FIVE TIMES MORE than another FOR DOING THE SAME DEGREE OF WORK . surely to be transparent a department would require an INVOICE before paying out that amount of money . You should check to see if the leaked letter did not also disclose the invoices . If you dont know the basis upon which the lawyers claimed their fees , to speculate as you have done is nothing short of being nasty .

  31. millertheanunnaki

    @ Puzzled !! | October 29, 2012 at 6:44 PM |
    .” If you dont know the basis upon which the lawyers claimed their fees , to speculate as you have done is nothing short of being nasty .”

    The legal profession is the most corrupt, thieving, incompetent, overrated profession in Barbados. No wonder the state of justice and jurisprudence is at an awfully low level.
    Your profession is the major cause of the international business sector not developing further. Go and clean up your profession and then you will work for and deserve the fees you charge.

    What work Hal Gollop did more than the other lawyers? Write a few letters and fill in a few forms any good accountant or corporate secretary could do. Did he represent the BWA in a litigious matter before a judge?
    We will see if he declares these large sums as income in his tax returns as is his legal and more importantly his moral obligation to do.

  32. millertheanunnaki

    @ Puzzled !! | October 29, 2012 at 6:44 PM |
    “……there is no way that a department of government would pay one lawyer FIVE TIMES MORE than another FOR DOING THE SAME DEGREE OF WORK . surely to be transparent a department would require an INVOICE before paying out that amount of money .”

    Tell that to the Auditor General whose report into that same institution highlighted invoices that were paid but for which no corresponding good or services were received totalling hundred of thousands of dollars. What about the Coastal Zone Management Corruption scandal? Such open thieving through inflating invoices and billing for goods and services not received are rampant in the public sector and gladly approved and condone by politicians and their appointed lackeys called chairmen. This is one of the ways of bilking the taxpayers along with the award of contracts to the same crooks submitting the invoices.
    I speak the truth here, Puzzled.

    BTW, are you implying that the BWA paid for both sets of legal fees? Did the BWA pay also for Inotech legal fees? How do you know how much legal work was done on behalf of Inotech?
    Just asking since I am “puzzled”!

  33. @ miller
    And how the hell do you know what any lawyer did in this matter that you can say that one lawyer’s work was nothing more than an accountant or corporate secretary could do ? What do you know at all about the project ? You are just being nasty .

  34. As a matter of interest , you may wish to publish what the Auditor General had to say of the new headquarters project . What has this project got to do with the coastal zone project ? You are now not only nasty but openly illogical .

  35. millertheanunnaki

    @ Puzzled:
    “… surely to be transparent a department would require an INVOICE before paying out that amount of money….”

    The above statement was made by you. What you are saying is a normative and a requirement under the Financial Administration and Audit (FAA) Act and applicable to government departments and agencies.
    What you could also say to ensure proper internal controls and effective financial management is that evidence of receipt of goods and services listed in the invoice must be shown to have been received in good and satisfactory order before full disbursement of funds to settle the invoice.

    Were these procedures followed at the BWA in the recent fraud case highlighted in the Auditor’s general report?
    Have the Police been called in to investigate the matter with the intention of charging the people who committed the fraud?

    In the absence of any evidence that action has been taken to deal with the fraud one can only conclude that there is “systemic” financial management failure at that organization leaving the ‘red’ door open for the potential of any corrupt invoicing activity to take place. The removal of an unlawfully appointed executive chairman won’t necessarily stop the leakage by the main players.

    Well if you can’t see the link between the CZM scenario and the BWA fraud I sincerely and honestly offer my apologies for your misunderstanding, Sir.
    But I was always of the misguided view that defrauding one government department through a total breach of the FAA Act would fall into the same category as a similar act of fraud that took place at another department using the same fraudulent techniques involving over invoicing and non-supply of goods and services.

    I can assure you that there are many similar goings-on right across the public sector especially at statutory agencies. Why do you think the audited annual financial statements are years behind the legally required date of completion?

  36. The question comes back to you ..What has fraud investigations in a previous BWA matter got to do with the Headquarters project that would allow you to make such definative statements about lawyers fees , work done to justify those fees etc, etc ? Why if you are so well informed about what work one lawyer , who you claim is being paid FIVE TIMES MORE money FOR DOING THE SAME WORK as the other lawyers involved in the project , was required to do don’t you publish the FACTS for the benefit of all readers to this blog ? I CHALLENGE YOU TO DO JUST THAT . should you fail to provide the FACTUAL INFORMATION I shall just continue to regard you as one NASTY person and ignore any further post on this matter BY YOU .

  37. @Miller

    Looking forward to the BLP’s Manifesto. Can we expect some focus to be placed on improving the financial discipline of the public service by making it more efficient in how financials are produced to time?

    We can’t seriously discuss improving the management of the affairs of Barbados by successive governments ignoring the financial rules.

  38. millertheanunnaki

    @ Puzzled !! | October 30, 2012 at 8:01 AM |

    When Chris Sinckler and Donville Inniss disclose the source of the evidence they have to the effect that the BLP intend to fire 10,000 from the public sector I will “publish the facts” surrounding the legal fees demanded from BWA consumers. Until then we remain apart in tacit disagreement awaiting the outcome of suit Inotech vs BWA for breach of contract.
    As a “Christian” man, like your client HG, you must be familiar with the following:
    “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

  39. Miller it is not only me that knows how nasty a sleeze ball you are talking a lot of bu…ll shit all day and nite now you in here talking as if you know all the facts about the legalities involved with hal gallop you are the biggest reason why people should not vote for the corrupt BLP for indeed you have proven yourself to be one of the biggest unethical liars of them all now stop spreading propaganda about chris and estwick you musty ole chink

  40. millertheanunnaki

    @ David | October 30, 2012 at 8:15 AM |

    I am very much peeved at these government owned agencies for the flagrant lack of discipline and blatant violation of the financial rules and regulations. Mr. Puzzled might not agree with me but I don’t care.

    How can a country that boast of having many educated people and trained people in the field of accounting tolerate such level of incompetence?
    There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever. Both political parties continuously brag about their commitment to ICT and its benefits for the effective management of the public sector. So why can’t the financials, which are the main ingredient for the efficient management of these corporations, be produced in a timely manner?

    Or is it a case of corruption being so endemic that there is a deliberate intent to cover fraud and misappropriation of funds leaving it to the other administration to handle like a hot potato?

  41. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | October 30, 2012 at 8:50 AM |
    ” you musty ole chink”

    Ac, I love that one! Brilliant, indeed!
    You see what you get when you suck the infected blood of ac! You must be feeling that bite you received in the middle of your garden.

    If Sinckliar is man enough let him say again that the BLP intend to lay off 10,000 workers. He could leak it to the rag sheet Nation like the letter from the Eager 11, the BWA gag order or the Inotech spanner in the works.

  42. Jeremy Baylish

    @ miller

    there ain’t any inotech spanner in the works. inotech still building and committed to completing the project from what we hear.

    why you don’t ask osa to call the PAC meeting for the Pierhead Marina, is it cause you know that there ain’t nothing wrong with the project plus the licks from Stuart and Sinckler over the Dodds Fraud cause him to rethink that plan of attack?

  43. Yuh jerk chris he did repeat the statement at the meeting sunday night yuh tink somebody gonna let OSA stop them from speaking the truth with a frivilous lawsuit.

  44. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | October 30, 2012 at 10:07 AM |

    So why not post your usual recordings of his unclear ranting and let us hear him repeat it himself instead of via a lying medium called ac.

  45. 1 billion dollars in cost overruns and the BLP trying to call out people on finances what a nerve!

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