BLP Blog Nominates The Leader Of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition David Thompson For “Piggies At The Trough Award”
The Barbados Labour Party Blog has nominated DLP Leader David Thompson for the 2006 Barbados Piggies At The Trough Award. The “Piggy” as the award is affectionately known, is presented annually to the Barbados politician or civil servant who, in the opinion of the judges, best misuses position, political contacts or internal knowledge to benefit self, family or friends.
A cash prize of One Thousand US Dollars is up for grabs, and will be won by the nominator of the winner of the 2006 Piggy. (For contest rules see the Barbados Free Press story – link here.)
BLP Blog Reveals 1994 DLP Concessions To Sandy Lane Hotel & Golf Course
The BLP Blog’s nomination of David Thompson is supported by a July 4, 1994 letter from the Barbados Ministry of Finance to Sandy Lane Hotel and Golf Course. The letter has been published on the governing party’s BLP Blog and is presented by the BLP as genuine and complete, except for a redacted signature.
The letter to Sandy Lane lists numerous major tax and duty concessions granted by the Ministry of Finance on the eve of an election – including a waiver of all corporate taxes for ten years, waiver of all import duties including on vehicles, waiver of property transfer taxes and so much more.
The BLP Blog characterizes the DLP’s actions in this manner…
“This is what Thompson was up to just right after the 1994 election was called when he was the Minister of Finance. You the voters must ask yourselves if he was acting in your interest or in his own interest when he bestowed these numerous concessions. He knew the writing was on the wall. He knew his party was going to lose and yet he was busy granting hefty concessions to a private entity after having presided over pay cuts, short weeks and thousands of Barbadians being laid off, losing their homes and furniture and appliances as hundreds of people had their property repossessed…
…(Thompson) is famous for secret deals. Well this must be one of the most lucrative secret deals for him which is no longer a secret.
He must be instantly nominated for a piggy at the trough award by Barbados Free Press…”
… excerpts from BLP Blog article “DLP Concessions Just Before Leaving Office”
BLP’s Charges Must Be Answered. The Public Interest Demands It!
The BLP Blog hits the nail on the head when it says “… voters must ask yourselves if he (Thompson) was acting in your interest or in his own interest when he bestowed these numerous concessions.”
And that is the point – were these concessions granted by the government of the day for the legitimate purpose of encouraging foreign investment with absolutely nothing to be gained by anyone remotely associated with the DLP or the government? AND… was there absolutely no appearance of a conflict of interest?
Those are the issues at the heart of Integrity Legislation and Conflict of Interest Rules. One does not have to prove that a benefit was received – only that there was an appearance of a conflict of interest by a person in a position of public trust, or their family or friends.
So Many Questions!
Did Finance Minister Thompson or DLP members or or family or friends receive anything from Sandy Lane – whether or not such gifts can be directly linked to the concessions? Did Sandy Lane Hotel or any of the corporate principals or shareholders contribute to DLP’s or David Thompson’s election campaigns? Does, or did, David Thompson or any other DLP member or family or friends receive any gifts or golfing memberships from Sandy Lane Hotel or any of the corporate principals or shareholders?
Barbados has no laws respecting Integrity and Conflict of Interests, so even if Minister Thompson or some other persons took gifts or benefits from Sandy Lane, it may not be a prosecutable offense.
Whether or not any laws were broken, if Thompson or anyone else holding a position of public trust did a “lucrative secret deal for him” and engaged in unethical behaviour or had an apparent conflict of interest, it would certainly qualify as prime “Piggies At The Trough” material.
Should The BLP Blog’s Nomination Of Thompson Be Accepted By The “Piggy” Judges?
As stated in the original announcement of the 2006 Piggies At The Trough Awards (link here), this year’s theme is “Land Expropriation or Forced Sale” – and the situation as described in BLP’s nomination of Thompson does not appear to fall within this year’s criteria…
The judging committee has received numerous other nominations thus far that – while juicy – also have nothing to do with Land Expropriation or Forced Sale. Many of the nominations have to do with Cricket World Cup contracts or other situations outside the announced theme.
We Put It To Our BFP Readers…
While the circumstances of the Thompson nomination do not appear to fall into this year’s theme, the judging committee is of the opinion that even if Mr. Thompson did not receive consideration for the concessions to Sandy Lane, the granting of such major concessions after the announcement of an election has the appearance of unethical behaviour.
The BLP’s nomination of Thompson with uncontested facts as stated would, in the opinion of the judging committee, qualify as a valid Piggy nomination – were it not for this year’s theme.
The judging committee is considering dropping this year’s announced theme and opening up the Piggy nominations to all situations.
What is the opinion of our readers?
Should the 2006 “Piggies At The Trough” Award be opened up to all situations?
Let’s hear what you have to say, folks!