Owen Arthur and David Thompson Agree They Don’t Want Integrity Legislation – Honour Among Thieves?
Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur looked decidedly uncomfortable beside newly-sworn-in Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding last Tuesday as Golding attacked corruption by government officials and used his inaugural speech to announce integrity legislation…
“Corruption in Jamaica is much too easy, much too risk-free. We are going to make it much more difficult; we are going to make it hazardous,” Golding said. “We will seek to enact legislation for the impeachment and removal from office of public officials guilty of misconduct, corruption and abuse of authority.”
… Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding at his swearing in ceremony (from the Herald Tribune link here)
Jamaica’s new Prime Minister pledged to enact integrity legislation because he knows that unless the corrupt behaviour is defined in law and made a crime, there is no way to stop the piggy politicians from feeding at the trough. Owen Arthur looked uncomfortable for three reasons: he has committed corrupt acts himself, many of his government members have committed corrupt acts – and he has deliberately not passed integrity legislation in 13 years of majority government.
Owen Arthur has even more reason to be uncomfortable when the words “integrity legislation” are used. Other CARICOM countries are also responding to citizen calls for accountability…
Cayman Islands Feels The New Wind With Freedom Of Information Laws
Last week Cayman Islands Government Minister Kurt Tibbetts and his colleagues passed Freedom Of Information legislation that enshrines the public’s right to access most government records – including the records of government owned companies. (See BFP’s Cayman Islands Pass Freedom Of Information Law – Time For Bajans To Stop Crawling On Their Knees To The Massa)
Meanwhile in Barbados, citizens are routinely denied access to even the most mundane government information – because the Owen Arthur government fears what would happen if citizens were able to examine government records and demand accountability of elected and appointed government officials. For instance, the eunuch known as the Auditor General of Barbados makes it as difficult as possible for a citizen to obtain a copy of his annual report. His staff demand that citizens provide their names and the reason that they would like a copy. The Auditor General doesn’t even have a website – although his dog maintains a blog. 😉
Trinidad and Tobago – Auditor General’s Reports Posted Online. Anti-Corruption Battle Being Waged
In Trinidad and Tobago, the Auditor General posts his reports on line, and also maintains an email address so citizens can report information that might be of interest. (See BFP’s Auditor General – Barbados vs. Trinidad and Tobago: A Study in Contrasts)
The headlines from Trinidad and Tobago are full of stories of battles being waged over corruption issues… which is a change from five years ago. Citizens now more aware of integrity and conflict of interest issues and are demanding accountability. Opposition party, the People’s National Movement (PNM) challenged the government to match it’s intent to declare the source of all election funding and donations.
This is a big change from the recent and not so recent past when people thought that few stories of corruption in the media meant there was little corruption.
In Barbados there are so few stories about corruption in the news because the government controls the media.
Let me see here, when was the last time the Barbados news media printed a story exposing corruption by a member of the government?
Maybe some of our readers can assist?
Dominica Times Newspaper Asks How Their Prime Minister Can Be A Millionaire On $5000 Salary
When Bajan radio journalist and talk show host David Ellis asked Barbados Tourism Minister Noel Lynch how he became a millionaire in 3 years on a government salary, Lynch stormed off the live show and launched the guilty man’s standard defense of hiring a lawyer to threaten someone who DARED to ask the forbidden question.
You can talk about anything with a Barbados politician, but it you ask about offshore bank accounts or how it is that he now owns a yacht – you will be sued or, like David Ellis, be forced to grovel in public to keep your job.
In Dominica, the papers get sued, but they have the honour and integrity to press on in a righteous cause…
Million Dollar Assets, $5000 Salary
“A special investigation by The Times newspaper reveals that there are a lot of questions about properties acquired by PM Roosevelt Skerrit over the last few years. There have been several eyebrows raised over what many perceive to be the sudden acquisition of wealth by Skerrit. However, he has always denied that there is any impropriety in his dealings since becoming Prime Minister in 2004. In a surprise attack on the new leadership of the Dominica Freedom Party, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit confirmed this week that he is building a three-bedroom dwelling house in Vielle Case at a cost of $400,000.00 dollars. he disclosure came as he tried to dispel additional rumors that he claims would be coming from the new DFP leadership regarding its desire to have him disclose the source of his alleged wealth.”
… from The Times of Dominica Story Million Dollar Assets, $5000 Salary
We couldn’t say it better than David at Barbados Underground (link here)
“This evening it was reported that Skerritt is suing the Editor of The Times to have certain allegations retracted. The Editor has promptly responded to say that he will not be backing down and that he will continue to ask questions. What balls! Who do we have in the press corp in Barbados that would have the gumption to stand-up to Prime Minister Arthur? We can visualize them shaking in their boots at the very thought…”
Need Proof That David Thompson Doesn’t Want Integrity Legislation? Consider This…
All across the Caribbean, citizens are demanding integrity legislation, conflict of interest rules and freedom of information laws from their governments – and Barbados citizens are no different.
What is different is that the DLP Opposition Party is not any more anxious to institute integrity standards than the BLP crooks who are currently feeding at the piggy trough.
Thompson and the DLP announced this week that education is “the No. 1 priority for a DLP government”. While there is no doubt that education in Barbados needs work, to make it the “No. 1 priority” of the DLP during an election run-up means that Thompson and his gang are either stupid (a possibility at least), totally out of touch with the priorities of ordinary Bajans (a definite possibility) or – that they intend to base their election campaign upon Anything But Integrity Issues because they smell the potential of victory and they don’t wish to limit their ability to steal as much as Owen Arthur and his government. (Very likely)
Thompson’s Definition Of “Accountable” Is “Being Available For A Chat Once A Year”
This would be hilarious if it weren’t our country that Mr. Thompson is talking about.
Last Saturday, Leader of the Opposition David Thompson spoke at a DLP constituency meeting and announced his plans for making MPs “accountable”
Are you ready for this? Better sit down!
Here is what Thompson will give to Barbados citizens as “accountability”…
“AT LEAST ONCE a year, Democratic Labour Party (DLP) parliamentarians will find themselves having to face a barrage of questions from constituents on their stewardship.”
… from The Nation News article MPs Must Be ‘Accountable’
That’s if folks! That is piggy-in-waiting David Thompson’s idea of “accountability” for Members of Parliament.
– No conflict of interest rules.
– No integrity legislation with penalties.
– No freedom of information law.
David Thompson and the Democratic Labour Party have just confirmed that they are nothing but another bunch of thieves waiting for a chance to steal.