Barbados is a wonderful country full of good people – but we have this one huge problem with a long-established culture of corruption and entitlement in politics and government service. Barbados Free Press and other reform-minded folks believe that the only way the culture will change is if the international community starts examining the Barbados government’s actions, inaction and policies with a critical eye in decisions regarding Barbados investments, property ownership and business deals.
International visitors to Barbados Free Press are usually shocked when they learn that Barbados government officials are not prohibited from accepting gifts of any value from land developers or companies that receive government contracts.
No Integrity Legislation exists in Barbados. As a result, powerful Government Ministers do not have to declare their assets or explain (for instance) how it is that, as a Member of the Cabinet that approves the expropriation of privately-owned lands, a Minister of Government can come to live upon a choice building lot that was forceably taken from an owner – using the full power of the Government.
Even our recently deceased Prime Minister, David Thompson, was embroiled in a conflict of interest scandal where he refused to allow independent oversight and transparency in the collapse of CLICO Barbados – a public company run by his best friend, Leroy Parris. Not only that, Prime Minister Thompson appointed Mr. Parris to be in charge of Caribbean Broadcasting – CBC – so Parris has control over what the news media tells the Bajan public about Clico and other matters of national interest.
Integrity, transparency and accountability are just words to Barbados politicians, but to fellow taxpayers the failure of successive Barbados governments to implement and enforce ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation) says “corruption”.
To international investors, the refusal of Barbados governments to define and regulate obvious conflicts of interest by elected and appointed officials says “higher risk”. After all, nothing says “banana republic” like the fact that Barbados citizens have an expectation and an acceptance that government officials will become millionaires while in office.