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 Barbados Government, Barbados Underground, Fruendel Stuart, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur, Politics
Tagged . Ronald Jones, 2012, Barbados Free Press, Barbados Parliament, Integrity Legislation, 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 Barbados, Barbados Labour Party, Barbados News, Blogging, David Thompson, Democratic Labour Party, Fruendel Stuart, Politics
Tagged Freedom of Information Act, Hardwoods Housing, Integrity Legislation, 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 Barbados, Barbados Media, Barbados News, Barbados Press, Blogging, Corruption, Governance
Tagged Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Information, Integrity Legislation, Transparency International, Transparency Legislation
Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)
The month of November seems appropriate to blog about transparency in government. Thirty plus years ago the Tom Adams led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) attempt to proclaim Integrity Legislation was still born. The incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government – led by the late Prime Minister David Thompson – promised Barbadians within 100 days of being elected Integrity and Freedom of Information Legislation would have been a priority. One wonders how MP Mara Thompson feels when she reflects on the promise made by her late husband to Barbadians.
In fairness to the DLP, a lukewarm attempt was made to read the anti-Corruption Bill but both political parties have cried foul. The bill when last we checked was languishing in a sub committee of parliament. BU is not sure what is the status of the proposed Freedom of Information bill.
That both parties would conspire to mamaguy Barbadians about their intention to introduce transparency legislation is instructive. The fact we are still to mature as a nation by crafting a governance system which holds politicians accountable, contradicts the billions we have invested in education post-Independence. Introducing transparency legislation does not call for any significant demand on the treasury of Barbados. What possibly could be the reason successive governments have delayed enacting Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation?
Posted in Barbados Labour Party, Barbados News, Blogging, Caribbean News, David Thompson, Democratic Labour Party, Foreign Affairs, Governance, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur, Politics
Tagged Barbados Independence, FOIA, Integrity & Transparency Legislation, Integrity Legislation, Tome Adams, Transparency Legislation
Senator Darcy Boyce (l) Opposition Leader Owen Arthur (r)
It has become patently obvious to the BU household that politicians in Barbados are members of a fraternity who will defend their ‘club’ even at the expense of the national interest. The two political parties have been latched on to a good thing for the last 30 years. Each party gets a chance to enjoy the ‘sweets’ compliments of the taxpayers.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) promised to introduce integrity legislation in 1976, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) opposed it. The Democratic Labour Party promised integrity legislation in 100 days of assuming office in 2008, it is now over 1000 days and counting. The legislation reached the lower house as it did in 1976 to be relegated to a sub committee of parliament. It would be an optimistic sort who would expect the legislation to rear its head for the balance of the government’s term.
Where the collusion of the BLP and DLP can be seen – whether by accident or design - is in the loud silence the opposition party has been able to manage on the matter of integrity legislation. It seems a no-brainer that a party which was accused of massive corruption at every turn leading up to the last general election would have held the feet of the government to the fire regarding the promise to proclaim integrity legislation in Barbados to sanitize its reputation.
Posted in Barbados Government, Barbados Labour Party, Caribbean, Caribbean News, Democratic Labour Party, Owen Arthur
Tagged Integrity Legislation, PAC, Public Accounts Committee, Senator Darcy Boyce, SMI, SMI Infrastructure Solutions
Submitted by Eli Davis
Peter Wickham recently sacked from the CBC TV8 has been at the forefront of calling for political campaign reform in Barbados
Every so often I get the urge to contribute (?) a comment to this forum that I believe merits attention. This time around it is that of The Business of the Political Campaign and its Financing. It is an issue that is basic in determining the relevance of our electoral process and, as a result of the moneyed interests involved, is the most difficult of topics to have discussed in public.
Few people would know that a study on this topic was commissioned by the OAS back in 2003 and resulted in a report that was published about three years later. My concern with the entire topic has to do with whether or not it is an appropriate topic for consideration in our current political environment that has demonstrated little in the furtherance of the long term viability of our peoples and nation states.
Basically, in my view anyway, a political party is simply an (legal?) entity that seeks to gain administrative control over the funds in the Treasury, and that’s it. How these are spent and on whom form the essence of the business of the party. The business requires that the populace be deceived into supporting the party campaign and once successful, that control over the funds be maintained for as long as possible.
Posted in Barbados, Barbados Media, Barbados News, Barbados Press, Blogging, Caribbean News, Corruption, Governance, Justice, Politics
Tagged Barbados Political Campaign and its Financing, Integrity & Transparency Legislation, Integrity Legislation, Peter Wickham
Submitted (as a comment) by Adrian Hinds
Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite
Up until the recent legislation brought by the DLP, the BLP had the upper hand in making the argument that they are the ones who wanted Integrity legislation and DLP did not. In what I will deem a calculated approach, not intended, to make good on a campaign promise – hung around their collective necks like a South African apartheid necklace – the DLP probably thinks that they have now even the argument to a stalemate from which they cannot suffer; it is now easy for them to mute the argument;
What is now clear, is that both parties do not want what the people insist on. The people must now demonstrate that they will hold them to account -at election time- as a condition for “individuals “to become their elected representative in the next parliament due to be reconstituted in 2013.
If Barbadians are serious that Integrity legislation is very important to them, then they need to sidestep the party structure and take the request/demand directly to each person vying to be the people’s representative in the people’s parliament.
Submitted by Hamilton Hill
This past June we saw where BLP candidate Indar Weir submitted a video montage to this site, and given the variance of comment shook to the core the social conscience of a nation. At first look I thought that these were images left in the wake of tropical storm Tomas. Then I opted to raise the volume and quickly came to the realization that this was not done by the hands of Mother Nature, but through blatant political neglect, fed and fostered by the passage of Father Time.
Quite unlike a few who contribute here this episode for me was personal rather than partisan, for I know poverty. Like my shadow it has been an accompaniment for all of the fifty three years granted me so far. This montage represented a stinging indictment against every GQ looking, Essence Imaged trend setting soul that climbs the steps to our Parliament, seemingly oblivious to circumstances that in some instances are reminiscent of places like Somalia.
Late Prime Minister Rt. Hon. J. M.G. M. ADAMS (l), Prime Minister The Hon. Freundel Stuart (r)
To illustrate the more things change the more they remain the same BU has cited three quotes below uttered by the Late Prime Minister Rt. Hon. J. M.G. M. ADAMS, M.A which have been extracted from his introductory speech to the Integrity Legislation Debate (parliament) in November 1979.
During the last Session I moved a Resolution calling for the introduction of integrity legislation for Ministers and Members of Parliament. After rnuch equivocation that Resolution was sent to a Select Committee. However, except for Mr. Speaker, no member of the then Government, the Democratic Labour Party, attended any meeting
of the Select Committee on integrity legislation and it failed to obtain a quorum. We therefore proposed in our Manifesto that we would pass legislation providing for; Members of Parliament, Senators and politically appointed members of Statutory Corporations to disclose their financial assets and liabilities on assuming office, periodically during office, and on termination. That was our commitment and this legislation is the result.
It is really a very simple principle that every year Ministers and Mernbers of Parliament, Senators should make a declaration of how much money they have, what property they own in and out of Barbados, and under certain conditions what property is owned by their spouse and children. Every year these declarations should be updated and examined by a Public Integrity Commission.
We have carried out an election pledge by introducing this Bill which seeks to preserve public confidence in the integrity and honesty of persons in public life. We know that we have to take the lead because the Opposition is opposed to it. I will not be so uncharitable as to say that the Opposition does not want this Bill passed because perhaps they are unwilling to make declarations and are therefore picking up something that is nothing, along with their anger, to excite the public in an unreasonable way.
Rt. Hon. J. M.G. M. ADAMS, M.A., (Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Planning), House of Assembly Debates