Integrity is the cornerstone of good governance and democracy. By upholding the highest ethical standards, public servants conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and impartiality of the federal public sector – Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
One of the enduring and unflattering memories of the Stuart led government so far is the matter of the case of Speaker of the House Michael Carrington vs Johns Griffiths [BU High Court 2015]. Carrington was ordered by the Supreme Court of Barbados Justice Cornelius J to pay $200,000 to a former client, seventy year old John Griffiths. These were monies owed to Carrington’s client the proceeds of an estate settlement. In summary: the High Court of Barbados had to issue an order for the Speaker of the House to pay his client.
Eighteen months later the knowledge that Carrington was not disciplined by Prime Minister Stuart remains a blotch on the type of democracy we practice. Bear in mind in the build up to the 2013 general election Stuart won the matchup against Owen Arthur on the integrity question.
It is the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leadership who first trumpeted that is committed to building a society. What kind of society can be built if key stakeholders in the DLP by their actions are not committed to the key value of integrity?
In the build up to the 2008 general election another promise was made by the DLP that a code of behaviour guideline for ministers would be implemented. As far as we are aware this is another promise outstanding designed to hold members of the DLP team accountable on the issue of integrity.
Leaders must lead!
The news that Sweden’s youngest ever government minister, Aida Hadzialic, has resigned after being caught driving over the alcoholic limit is interesting. She faces a possible term of up to six months in prison after police detected a blood-alcohol level of 0.2 grams per litre. To put it in perspective the minister admitted to drinking two glasses of wine. It is unfathomable that any minister or public official in Barbados would resign under similar circumstances. BU is aware the legislative framework does not exist in Barbados to scientifically test and prosecute DUI cases.
Hadzialic’s resignation is important to send a message to the electorate that elected officials are prepared to hold themselves accountable. Accountability is not defined only in law Mr. Prime Minister Stuart. Your advice to Carrington to hire a lawyer sent the wrong signal to a society crying out for leadership at this time. There is right and wrong. It was wrong for Carrington to have withheld clients money from seventy year old Griffiths. You missed the opportunity any leader worth his salt would have used to exercise leadership.
Prime Minister Stuart how are you able to stomach Carrington sitting on the Speaker’s Chair in the Lower House after what he did to that old man?
Mia Mottley how are you and your team able to address the Speaker given his indiscretion?
What credibility does Stuart or his ministers have to lecture Barbadians on matters of morality?
Relevant Article: Drink-driving Sweden minister rues ‘biggest mistake’