Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart promised integrity legislation in the current term
As incredible as it may seem to some, the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2012 has passed the Lower House on its journey to being proclaimed. Hopefully this will be done before the Prime Minister rings the bell for the next general election. One suspects though that Prime Minister Stuart will deliver on this piece of legislation, this is the stuff legacy is built. Perhaps the one regret is that yet again Hansard will NOT record a contribution from the leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur.
A listen to the debate disappointed yet again. Members of parliament on both sides joined hands to paint a picture of a courageous group who has had to bear the brunt of vilification from the public. References were made to the #16 ranking which Barbados holds on Transparency International. The Prime Minister referenced the need to recognize that there is a perception that many in public life engage in questionable behaviour, therefore the need to have integrity legislation. The listener was left with the impression that the government although tabling the legislation, has done so kicking and screaming.
To state the obvious integrity legislation serves many purposes. In private enterprise rules governing code of conduct is routine. It ensures that all employees are aware of the consequences of certain actions. It helps to feed a culture of excellence. BU posits that many practices which currently fly under the radar may be discontinued or forced into the open with the advent of integrity legislation. Should we remind the Attorney General that Transparency International’s ranking is based on a perception index? It is known how PSV permits were procured by may as a good example. A read of the Auditor General reports from 2006 also helps to form positions unfavourable to politicians and others in the public sector.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged 2012, Barbados Free Press, Barbados Government, Barbados Parliament, Barbados Underground, Fruendel Stuart, Integrity Legislation, Local Politics, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur, Pevention of Corruption Bill, Transparency Legislation
Submitted by Hamilton Hill
Pedro Stanford, Chairman of the Transport Board and Sandra Forde, GM
While listening to Sagicor’s Early Business Report on VOB some morning this past week I was startled by the news that the authorities in Jamaica had brought charges against three persons in that country for corruption. A business man, a police officer and a member of parliament–yes a sitting MP. According to the report this all came about through a traffic ticket, and a subsequent attempt to have it disappear. BARBADOS ARE YOU TAKING NOTE? This is what integrity legislation when enforced can do.
In an effort to breathe life into a transportation system that has long been a victim of political cronyism on both sides of the fence, government has again turned to its perennial cash cow better known as the NIS, and we who could very well end up on the short end of this deal have no voice as to whether or not it should be done. Why don’t we? The planks of protection embedded in Integrity Legislation are not in place. If there were this board would not have been made to operate in a climate where its failure is and has always been a foregone conclusion—where it pandered to its competition by way of the sale of its more lucrative routes, often times to friends and even family members of those in control of its very purse strings. Surely we can all remember the mini busses that covered the St.George area. Day and night they were packed to capacity, while the transport board’s were empty. For the most part they were owned by one person. One well connected person.
The Hon. Prime Minister Freundel Jerome Stuart, Q.C., M.P
BU admits to being sympathetic to the platform message of the late Prime Minister David Thompson that on winning the government, he would usher in a new kind of governance in Barbados. The new dispensation would be driven by transparency legislation, a combination of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is approaching the end of its 5-year term and it is fair to say that nothing has changed. It is business as usual in Dodge.
Barbadians who walked the campaign trail last election should recall that one of the hot button issues was Hardwood Housing. The late Prime Minister shouted to Barbadians who stood in the ‘dew’ that “someone will have to pay for Hardwood”. Many political pundits opine that the Hardwood Housing issue was the weight that tipped the scale for many voters and in the process destroyed Clyde Mascoll’s political aspirations.
It is strange that the Harwood Housing matter has not been pursued with the same vigour by the media as CLICO. It is a governance issue and the principle is the same. Is it fair that the DLP would promise to do a forensic audit on Harwood Housing and four years later courtesy is not extended to Barbadians by way of a status update? The question remains, was a forensic report performed on Hardwood Housing? If a report was done is it reasonable to expect that unlike the CLICO forensic report, it would have been sighted by members of the government after 4-years in the making? What is the true story to be told about Hardwood Housing? Was it a non issue which was turned into a political football because of the Mascoll factor?
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Labour Party, Blogging, David Thompson, Democratic Labour Party, Freedom of Information Act, Fruendel Stuart, Hardwoods Housing, Integrity Legislation, Local Politics, St.Joseph Hospital, Transparency Legislation
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart
There is a rising concern about the level of integrity demonstrated by people in high office in Barbados. Such concern is usually targeted at government officials. Not since the late Rt. Hon. J.M.G.M “Tom” Adams, Q.C., M.P failed to enact integrity legislation in the 70s have we had a Prime Minister who has demonstrated the testicular fortitude to put Transparency Legislation on the statute books. The Honourable Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart Q.C, M.P maybe the man to do it.
When the Prime Minister announced recently that the Prevention Against Corruption Bill is coming, it caused the political cynics to snigger. BU believes Stuart is serious about delivering the legislation. This is a man who exudes honesty and integrity when compared to his parliamentary colleagues. He appears to be the type of man who will do what is right and let the chips fall way they may. His biggest challenge maybe within his own team and he will therefore have to drag a few kicking and screaming to the party.
If Stuart can operationalize Transparency Legislation in Barbados – win, lose or draw come general election time, he will command a special place when political history is recorded. However, there is another matter which he needs to put to bed to reinforce the perception that he is a man of integrity. He must inflict Stage II on the Alexandra matter.
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart
The news that the Prevention of Corruption Bill is back on the Order Paper of Parliament or soon will be is good news. The fact that it is has taken so long to come is to be regretted. What BU has gleaned from the statement issued by Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is his commitment to deliver anti-corruption/transparency legislation. To those who will predictably howl at the position BU has taken, it is an opinion which the BU household is entitled.
Not many Barbadians will disagree that Prime Minister Stuart possesses a few endearing qualities, those that engender trust, honesty and integrity easily come to mind. If he says he will deliver the Bill under his watch before the next general election, how can he not deliver?
It is interesting to note Opposition Leader Owen Arthur’s response to the issue – Bring it on! Arthur has been labelled a Master Tactician on BU and one must admire his attempt to wrestle the anti-corruption agenda from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). While delivering a speech on the weekend Arthur referred to the time when he and Mia Mottley ‘declared’ their assets. He ridiculed the fact that ‘not a boy’ from the government side mirrored their action. BU opined at the time Arthur and Mottley’s action was a gimmick to win goodwill from the electorate. How can any member of parliament declare assets when there is no framework implemented to assess the accuracy of the submissions?
Submitted by Porridgeboy
Senator Orlando Marville, Chairman of Governance Advisory Board
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) came to power on what is known and clearly established as a myriad of EMPTY promises. This country was promised an accessible and transparent government. In his 2008 Budgetary Proposals, page 25, the late Prime Minister David Thompson spoke about a Governance Advisory Board that was set up under the Chairmanship of Independent Senator Orlando Marville, former Central Bank Governor Calvin Springer, Professor Dr. Eudine Barriteau, Attorney at Law Monique Taitt, the Very Reverent Frank Marshall, Dean of St. Michael and Shantal Munro-Knight a leader and policy–advisor in the NGO movement.
This board was to prepare draft legislation in the following areas:
Integrity (to include declaration of Asset by Public officials, and a code of conduct for Ministers
Freedom of Information
New Constitutional Provisions to rationalize the power of the Prime Minister.
Hence I am forced to ask a few question:
Where has this board disappeared to?
Did it die with the late Prime Minister?
Was this just another promise to capture the vote of the people?
Folks, I am only asking.
Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)
To the independents who voted for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) last election, it is evident that it has retreated from its promise to make enactment of transparency legislation a priority. Of equal concern to BU has been the reluctance by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to pressure the government to honour its promise. Civil society should be concerned that the BLP – the government in waiting – is committed to following through on proclaiming transparency legislation. There will be the obvious argument that the 2011 perception index released by Transparency International, Barbados achieved the highest ranking in the region of 7.8 out of 10. Perhaps the two political parties might suggest in light of the #16 ranking out of 183 countries, anti corruption legislation is not a priority. Such responses can be dismissed by asking – why did both political parties see the need to include it as a deliverable in their last manifestos?
Listed on the Corruption Index for 2011 are the USA at 7.1 and India 3.1. Although at opposite ends of the index these two countries are regarded as economic power houses on the global stage. More interestingly, the two are regarded as the two biggest democracies in the world. To acquire government approval in India for the most mundane request one must overcome an institutionalized system of corruption. Last week two angry Indian farmers acted out their frustration by dumping two dozen snakes in a government tax office. It is interesting that in India the fight against corruption in government has tossed up Anna Hazare. His charismatic leadership has attracted millions of Indians to the movement which has forced the government to prioritized its anti-corruption policymaking agenda. It seems India deserves its rating of 3.1.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Media, Barbados Press, Blogging, Corruption, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Information, Governance, Integrity Legislation, Transparency International, Transparency Legislation