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?
The government to its credit is getting back on track by proclaiming it will deliver transparency legislation before it’s term expires. Given the Opposition’s fleeting mention of transparency legislation in the last four years, it is highly likely were Arthur to return to government transparency legislation would not see the light of day.
The Prime Minister’s announcement has also served to remind the traditional media about the issue. Social Media never stopped championing the need to enact transparency legislation. In the weeks ahead BU will join other Barbadians to witness Prime Minister Stuart go where Prime Ministers before him failed to travel.
When Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart delivers transparency legislation his legacy will be assured win lose or draw.