Definition: Omertà, [n]: a popular attitude and code of honour. Common definition is the “code of silence” or “conspiracy of silence”
Is Barbados less corrupt than the UK and the US?
Transparency International says that Barbados is less corrupt than the UK and the USA. Surprised? I’m not. Barbados elites are experts at managing the brand – even to the extent of having international newspapers remove negative news articles about the country.
So good is our control of our “Little England” image that you would be hard-pressed to find one person in a hundred in the UK who know that Barbados lacks Integrity Legislation, Conflicts of Interest rules or Freedom of Information laws. Unsolved assassinations of government officials? Not in Barbados, surely? Police roughing up reporters, shooting unarmed people, destroying evidence, and taking bribes? Not in Barbados!
Government Minister living in a house on land that his government expropriated and never paid for? No way that would happen in Barbados! British investor and businessman and his family threatened with murder and rape – and the police refused to investigate because the suspect was connected? Not in Barbados! Proof that a government minister made big money from international porn business and the newspapers ignore it? Never happen!
Barbados Tourism Authority $100 million dollar annual budget goes a long way!
Image and public perception are everything and the BTA’s $100 million a year doesn’t all go to buying newspaper adverts in the travel section you know. Travel, financial and general journalists and editors are treated to trips and feted regularly. Some important ones are probably put on retainers for that famous but vaguely defined Barbados profession known as “consulting”.
How do certain major Bajan news stories manage to stay out of the international press or fade away all too soon? That is a good question, isn’t it?
How does Transparency International gather information and come to conclusions?
For all its excellent ratings about Barbados, Transparency International has never performed one of TI’s National Integrity System (NIS) Assessments on Barbados.
That’s right folks – Transparency International has NEVER issued a NIS report on Barbados. Check it out for yourself at their website here.
As the TI website says “The NIS assessments offer a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity system in a given country. They are conducted by local in-country organisations, generally TI national chapters.”
Barbados doesn’t have a Transparency International chapter. As Owen Arthur once said, we don’t need integrity legislation because Bajan politicians are honest. I think he said that before he was caught depositing a $75,000 political donation cheque into his personal bank account.
So how does TI measure corruption in Barbados and elsewhere? They compile surveys and reports done by other organizations. That’s right – surveys and reports by others. You can read the TI methodology and reports here: TI methodology
Transparency International is a wonderful organization that works hard to expose corruption and change societies so ordinary people can progress. In the case of Barbados though, I believe that TI’s methodology has been strategically overcome by Bajan experts selling the Barbados image and perception.
Barbados is a brand, and the elites who understand that also understand that in many ways perception and image are much more important than reality.
Has Transparency International been fooled by Barbados?
Keltruth Blog seems to think so, and they know how it happens…
“Barbados is very different. While I am puzzled that an external agency like Transparency International was unable to detect the widespread corruption in Barbados, I am mindful that Barbadians fear reprisals and are therefore extremely timid about confronting this problem. I have been following local politics for over forty years, yet I have never heard of a Bajan politician being officially charged with corruption.
Barbados is a small community physically confined to a 21 mile by 14 mile island. Many Barbadians are blood relatives, and family ties are very important. Every Barbadian is extremely aware that any type of confrontation can have dire consequences.
The best policy for individual survival in a small community is to adopt the mantra “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Ironically the best policy for individual survival is also the worst policy for the individual’s community, as corruption spreads unchecked.”
Read the full Keltruth Blog article: Is Barbados less corrupt than the UK and the US?