At What Point Does Diplomatic Convention Become Abuse?
During a recent business trip to New York City, Sir Allan Fields was picked up at the airport by an embassy car and driver that took Sir Allan and his business companion to their hotel. After late lunch, the embassy car and driver was used again to transport the two Barbadian businessmen to a private business meeting at a lawyer’s office only 3 blocks from their hotel. The driver was told to wait, and then in the early evening transported Sir Allan and two business associates to a private club for dinner – again being told to wait.
Later that night – around 10:30pm – the embassy driver finished his assigned duties after delivering Sir Allan and his business companion back to their hotel.
According to BFP’s source, this was the first of two such days of embassy car/driver use by Sir Allan on this particular business trip – where Sir Allen never attended at any government facility and was (again according to our source) in New York City for business meetings having to do with his position on the boards of various companies.
“Standard Practice” At Our Embassies
Our source states that Sir Allen is routinely assigned an embassy car and driver just about anywhere in the world he travels where Barbados has any sort of diplomatic mission – even if he is traveling for reasons of private business.
We understand that it is rather common practice to assign an embassy car and driver to “dozens and dozens” of “A List” Barbadians who are traveling for private purposes – including many government members who travel for private reasons (like shopping trips to Miami & New York City).
BFP’s source tells us that a recent internal study showed that when embassy autos and drivers are assigned in New York City, they are being legitimately used for “official” purposes less than 10 percent of the time.
No Accountability, No Transparency – Causes Abuse Of Embassy Cars & Staff
While this article is focusing upon Sir Allan Fields’ use of government resources for private business purposes, it should be clearly understood that Sir Allan is by no means the only person involved. Nor should it be inferred that Sir Allan has personally “demanded” an embassy car and driver for private business. The system has been set up so that Sir Allan and persons like him can “request” a car and staff driver and it is simply done.
HOWEVER… it is Sir Allan that we have specific information on, so we shall focus upon his use of government resources for private purposes…
We Demand That Sir Allan Fields Account For His Private Use Of Embassy Cars and Drivers, And Repay The Costs To Barbados
In any responsible democracy, citizens are able to file requests to see specific public expense records under “Freedom of Information” legislation. Barbados has no such legislation (What a surprise!) but if it did, the Barbados Free Press would request the following…
To Accounting Department, Government of Barbados,
Please provide the following public records under Freedom Of Information rules:
1/ Costs for the past five years for embassy drivers and autos, listed by mission, in real dollars and also as a percentage of each embassy’s operating budget.
2/ Names of all persons who have used the embassy autos and drivers for the last five years – listed on a per trip basis with dates and the stated reasons for each use. (Hey… to our diplomatic staffers in New York City… the information is kept in the “drivers’ book” with the blue cover. You know where it is!)
3/ For the last five years: Records of use by Sir Allan Fields, for embassy drivers and autos – listed on a per trip basis with dates and the stated reasons for each use.
Sir Allan Sets An Example For All – But Which Example Will He Set?
Regular readers of the Barbados Free Press know that while we are opposed to opulent spending of tax dollars by elected or career public servants, we do not begrudge them the tools to do their jobs nor do we find fault with them flying business class on government duty. Traveling for work is no pleasure, and as exciting as it sounds to the uninitiated, a two week business trip abroad is demanding and can be exhausting.
So – we don’t have a problem with legitimate and reasonable use of diplomatic cars and drivers for government business. But that’s only 10 percent of the current use!
Sir Allan Fields and others have been using government resources for private business – specifically diplomatic vehicles and drivers.
That’s wrong – but only morally wrong because Barbados has no laws against such pilfering of the tax dollars that you and I pay.
Sir Allan should account in detail for his misuse of government resources and tax dollars, repay the monies, and cease using embassy drivers and cars for private purposes.