DLP Leader Calls For Integrity Legislation In Barbados – But Does He Really Mean It?

DLP Leader Thompson Supports Integrity Legislation – Prime Minister Arthur Does Not

According to The Nation News, David Thompson, leader of the Democratic Labour Party, stated publicly last Sunday on Brass Tacks – Voice of Barbados Radio that he favours Integrity Legislation for elected officials.

The Nation News disclosed this most important news with a single line in the middle of a larger article…

…”The Opposition Leader disclosed that he favoured integrity legislation (which usually binds prominent people to declaring their assets publicly); having more places for students at the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic; and a more broad-based economic programme emphasising export agriculture and manufacturing…”

Read the entire Nation News article here.

This is big news folks, because a political party in Barbados has finally declared in favour of legislating behavoural standards and accountability for public officials. Mr. Thompson and the DLP have obviously come to the realization that without Integrity Legislation and Conflict of Interest Rules, Barbados will never be able to progress.

Integrity Legislation keeps honest people honest, and makes crooked elected officials accountable when they step over the line.

But Do Thompson And The DLP Really Mean What They Say?

While we congratulate Mr. Thompson for taking a public stand on this important issue, we hope that he and the DLP have the strength of conviction and character to follow through and show real leadership in this area.

Integrity Legislation and wrong-doing by politicians will be a major issue next election. Of that there can be no doubt. People have had it with abuses by politicians, and even die-hard BLP supporters know that more than a few skeletons are starting to fall out of the closet.

Thompson and The DLP Should Act Now!

The DLP will gain significant moral highground and increased public support long before the next election if it does one thing right now… The DLP must institute Integrity Standards and Conflict of Interest Rules for DLP elected officials and make these standards effective immediately.

Regardless of the fact that such rules would not immediately have the force of law, the DLP should make it known that they will enforce compliance by their own elected members until proper legislation is enacted.

If Thompson and the DLP were to immediately announce “Interim Standards and Conflict of Interest Rules for DLP Elected Officials”, it would be a public declaration that the Democratic Labour Party, whatever it’s current weaknesses, is really willing to walk the walk about integrity.

Such an announcement would also make Integrity and Conflict of Interest Legislation THE major election issue next year – and would effectively steal the thunder from whatever election issues that the BLP would like to see before the public.

After 12 years of feeding at the trough, the BLP is extremely vulnerable on integrity issues.

The DLP and Leader Thompson now have their one best chance to set up the major election issue of next year. Let’s see if they have both the strength of character and the political savy to follow through.

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29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

29 responses to “DLP Leader Calls For Integrity Legislation In Barbados – But Does He Really Mean It?

  1. If the DLP is smart they will do exactly as you say… the Greenland, Gems, Jaws, this recent relevation and who knows what others I have missed any party that I was convienced supported genuine integrity legislation would get my vote. It is the single greatest legacy that any leader could now leave for Barbados.

  2. Hants

    Integrity legislation is the right thing for Barbados but it won’t get many votes. Too many people other than politicians have benefitted from the “trough”.

  3. Remember folks, there politics to get elected, and there is politics after being elected, the both rarely goes hand in hand. So it is going to be very important to weight previous comments with pass comments and ask for an explanation of the switch. One has to be sure that it isn’t simple electon politics that is driving the change of opinion.

    Now i have to review the DLP and Thomps current comments seemly in favour of integrity legislation, against comments that he Thompy made shorty after the Panday conviction and the renewal of calls for such legislation here. They seems to be at odds position. Also one has to look at the history of the introduction of such legislation in pass Barbados parliament. The history shows a willingness of some and an unwillingness of many.

  4. Jane

    Adrian, I was looking forward to hearing you comments.

    My take on this is exactly the same as yours but if the legislation was passed before the elections that would be fine.

    Actions speak louder than words!

  5. West Side Davie

    The wind is changing, and the politicos can smell a new sea breeze as much as anyone.

    I don’t care if Thompy is sincere as long as he enacts the rules. change the rules and the public morality will follow.

  6. Biscoe

    If Thompson is serious he could bring a Private Member’s Bill and see who would vote against it and for what reasons. But alas, I fear this is just another exercise in vote catching.

  7. Biscoe: if the recently pass politico and senior civil servants pay increase is anything to go by, they all, and uh mean both B and D will seek to deceive on the issue of integrity legislation. Some have gone so far as to sugest that any such legislation not be grandfathered.

    West Side Davie: wouldn’t thompy have to be sincere in order to enact the legislation? He will not be exempt from it, yuh know. Or you are just willing to effect a DLP win at any cost?

  8. rightvwrong

    Over time “tiefing” has been insitutionalized and the next set of people looking for power consider that they should be given the keys to the vault regardless if its bad for the future of all Barbadians.

    Why do you think we haven’t heard but a peep from David Thompson?
    He and his DLP cronies want to be given the keys to the vault not because they have earned the right by vision, leadership and through a new direction of transparency and accounability but rather by default. Its really quite uninspiring and sad!

  9. ILLUMINATOR

    Another issue worth looking at is campaign contributions and whether some form of fund could be set up for both parties to fuel their election run . I know it would probably be unpopular in the public eye to perceivably allocate more money to politicians already fat pockets. However , the other side of the coin is that parties relying on donations from private persons and corporations often are expected to give kickbacks when in power to guarantee future continued donations.

    I am sure this is happening in a big way all now as entities look for returns on their ‘investments ‘. I think in the U.S., where Dubya Bush refuses to initiate legislation to control industrial emmissions despite quite clear indicators that they might be causing the planet’s temperature to increase thereby causing increasingly aggresive and unstable weather patterns , is an example of not wanting to harm your party’s pocket liners profit margin.

    It would require much study and deliberation but should definitely form part of any integrity legislation passed .

  10. BK

    although all the issues listed are important I suspect that the issue in the next election will come down to one thing and at the moment the BLP still has the upper hand…LEADERSHIP!!

  11. ross

    Well they have got to be accountable.

  12. Anonymous

    This is a joke. Never happen.

  13. Velzo

    Obviously none of you heard the programme. That’s a pity because your comments are based on a newspaper report and not the actual statements made.

    Thompy made his position quite clear in favour of integrity legislation and declaration of assets. He even said that in 1996 when the BLP introduced subventions for political parties he did not support it – much to the criticism of others – without the parties declaring political contributions.

    He said that he was in favour of parties being required to declare political contributions so that the public can judge whether donors are calling in their investments.

    Adrian’s point about Thompy switching is typical of him – throw a little doubt on Thompson’s credibility on the issue. The simple point made by Thompy then – in relation to Panday – is that people seem not to understand the difference between right and wrong anymore. And that you can pass as much integrity legislation as you want but there will always be allegations that the action against a particular politician is motivated by a political witch-hunt.

    These seem like clear positions to me.

  14. Compared to Arthur when asked about the Panday issue and calls for such legislation:

    April 26 2006
    ———————————————————————————–
    Asked if this was likely to rekindle calls from all major parties here in the last 15 to 20 years for integrity legislation, Arthur replied: “Absolutely true.”

    “I am not offering an excuse here, but the edge has gone off it because our system works too, and I believe that by and large the Barbadian politicians on all sides have been honest.

    “Most former prime ministers of Barbados, I must tell you – prime ministers of Barbados as a class – have not been wealthy people, either in office or out of office.

    “And those kinds of things have taken the edge off (integrity legislation), and you are right that we will have to look at it again. Because anything that can make the system work can only but give the population the comfort that if people stray, that they will have to be held accountable. I think it could only be to the good.

    “I don’t want to get into instant policy, I haven’t discussed it with my colleagues. I think this is going to stimulate interest in matters such as these. It will help politicians too, you know, because you live always under a cloud of suspicion, and if people were made to know what our circumstances are, a lot of that cloud would evaporate,” Arthur said.

    —————————————————————————

    So Arthur thinks that Integrity legislation can help politicians, and Thompy until now did not think it mattered. Did i cast the doubt? or did his words do it? Note it is either me or his words but never him, as he can do no wrong. šŸ˜€ now kings and fools can do no wrong and i have on interest is electing either. šŸ˜€

    There is the politics to get elected and there is the politics after the election. Now who said that the political party exist only to win elections? and who cast the party as an institution of family and friends when it was politically expedient to frame it as such in order launch an attack on Arthurs wedding? who? šŸ˜€

  15. Velzo

    How is that relevant Adrian? You were talking about what Thompy said regarding Panday. Not what Arthur said – or rather did not say. Where is the difference between Thompson on Panday and Thompson last week?

    Arthur does not believe in integrity legislation. That’s clear.

    What do you have to establish that Thompy doesn’t either? The goal-post changes with you by the hour. What is the issue? That a party says something to be elected and does something else? Well, the answer to that is not to look back. Put Thompy and the Dems to the test.

    What, however, will that do for you? You can’t vote here anyway… or have the rules been bent to accomodate you.

  16. Velzo

    BTW Adrian, do you agree that our system works? After all you said about the Mottleys etc?

  17. ha ha ha Velzo: I am of the opinion that our political class are not serious about integrity legislation. After reading the nationsnews article back in April detailing the times that integrity legislation, was introduce, the comments made then I came away with a clear picture of a particular party fearfull that it was being introduce to disadvantage them, that it was a political gimmick much apparently has not change.

    I am making the charge that neither Owen Arthur, or David Thompson has any interest in enacting integrity legilation. This if this was the case both Owen and Thompy would have made the case abundantly clear back April, where one choose to remember that he is but a parliamentarian and not first among equals and the other placing priority on respect for politicians rather than that the Law was taking it’s course. If Thompson is so convince by the rightness of integrity legislation why did he choose a talk show to mention that he supports it? why hasn’t at least bring a private member’s resolution or whatever it is called to this effect? why didn’t attached to one of his ennuendo outburst in parliament the need for such legislation? Does Thompson know that Barbados signed the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention of Corruption on April 6, 2001, but, as late as September 2005, was the only OAS member country that had not ratified it? maybe now he can pretend that he is holier than thou and make some noise, tell him any law wouldn’t be grand fathered so he should have anything to fair. šŸ˜€

  18. Our system of Government can do better, it can do better if it is reform, to allow the people a greater participation in the process.

  19. BFP says: This is big news folks, because a political party in Barbados has finally declared in favour of legislating behavoural standards and accountability for public officials. Mr. Thompson and the DLP have obviously come to the realization that without Integrity Legislation and Conflict of Interest Rules, Barbados will never be able to progress.

    ————————————————————————————–

    ….and i believe that this position is politically driven no where else does Thompy reference such favour. He clearly wet his finger and stuck it in the air to determine the direction from which the strongest political win current was originating.

  20. Velzo

    Adrian, as usual you are quite wrong. And I knew something was fishy with the propanganda you were putting out.

    The facts as told to me: Just after the BLP won in 1994, an attempt was made to give political parties subventions out of the parlimentary vote. Thompy opposed it as long as it did not include the requirement that political parties disclose contributions. He then set up a committee of former HC Judge Elliott Belgrave, Former Central Bank Governor Calvin Springer and former UWI Tutor Kathleen Drayton to look at the issue of funding of political parties and integrity legislation.

    During the debate in the House on the increase in expenditure by candidates for elections he made a call again for disclosure of contributions plus integrity legislation. Or, he said, elections should be fully funded by the state removing the danger of parties getting large contributions and their benefactors getting what they wanted.

    Check the 2003 DLP Manifesto on integrity legislation.

    Also, Thompy recently called in an interview in the Nation for the establishment of an independent Office of Contractor General to be establishbed in Barbados to monitor public contract awards and performance.

    Grandfathering legislation as an opposition MP is almost impossible in Barbados. Check the record on it. Why do something that just wastes time?

    But do we really have the appetite for this kind of thing or do we prefer the allegations, innuendo etc.? It is clear why there are so many contributions on the Glyne Clarke issue. We like it that way. Will a party that promises integrity legislation and the disclosure of assets really make a difference at the polls?

    Adrian has a big problem with Thompy and BFP readers have to understand his perspective which is to confuse, obfuscate and even twist the truth.

  21. ross

    I have a problem when I see blatant corruption, nobody being held accountable and nothing being done about it. Contributing to BFP and other blogs gives me an outlet for my frustration and feeling of helplessness.

    What do people who do not have access to this outlet do about their frustration?

    I do not care who enacts integrity legislation once it is enacted and the perpetrators feel the full weight of the law.

    You cannot treat poor people this way forever.

  22. West Side Davie

    Like BFP say, DLP should start their own conflict of interest rules and show the way. That will prove it to everyone.

  23. Robert

    Adrian, why do you let your fingers type before you put your brain in gear?

    At page 65 of the Democratic Labour Party’s 2003 manifesto, titled “A Fair Share for All”, the party pledged the following:

    1)Introduce Integrity and anti-corruption legislation that would require Ministers of Government, Chairpersons of Statutory Boards and Chairpersons of Private companies in which government has at least a 40% ownership, to disclose their assets to an Intergrity Commission set up by the Govenor General.

    It went further and pledged to introduce Freedom of Information legislation and to review the laws of defamation to give greater freedom to the press and the populace to hold public figures more accountable.

    This sounds like a party with a Leader worthy of our support. Thompson did not have to test the wind.He has been consistent.

  24. BK

    please understand that thompson’s position at this time is simply a response to the opportunity which exist to endear the DLP to the populace by juxtaposing this position with the rising public perception of dishonest politicians at home and abroad.

  25. JG

    Once he does what he says we will all be much better off.

  26. Velzo

    BK: What was the reason he took that position in 1999? Was it rising then too?

    And 2003?

    How does this endear a politician? He’s in opposition.

    Why don’t you ask him to voluntarily disclose his assets now and see what his position might be?

  27. JG

    We, the tax payers, need leaders/our servants who account for our hard-earned money.

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