“David Comissiong’s vision of integrity legislation is, like Thompson’s, a recently conceived, half-baked mixture thrown together for the election because, well, everybody is talking about integrity legislation so we must talk about it too.”
The President of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) has joined the list of politicians calling for integrity legislation – even though none of them are willing to place the details of their definition of integrity legislation in writing. “Trust me, Bajan voters don’t need to know what I really mean by integrity legislation” is what PEP’s Comissiong and DLP’s Thompson are saying.
Comissiong’s statements at his recent press conference show the dangers of accepting politician’s statements at face value – because the politicians each have a different definition and vision of “integrity legislation”.
David Comissiong’s vision of integrity legislation is, like Thompson’s, a recently conceived, half-baked mixture thrown together for the election because, well, everybody is talking about integrity legislation so we must talk about it too.
According to an article in the Nation News, Comissiong believes that “Integrity Legislation” is only about politicians having to declare their assets and publish campaign donations. That’s it. That is “Integrity Legislation” according to David Comissiong.
Comissiong’s Version Of “Integrity Legislation” Is Incomplete, Flawed
– Nothing about Conflict of Interest rules that would prohibit a politician from awarding a government contract to family members or friends.
– Nothing about Integrity Laws and standards that would prohibit a politician or government employee from profiting as a result of their inside knowledge or actions in government service.
– Nothing about Freedom of Information laws requiring government to grant public access to information so that any interested citizen has the tools and knowledge to unmask crooked politicians and government officials.
– Nothing about enforcement, penalties or empowering an oversight body with real authority to investigate and lay charges.
– Nothing about bidding requirements for government contracts.
Integrity Legislation Is Not Rocket-Science Or A New Invention
As we have said before on many occasions, Barbados politicians have had decades to create and implement integrity legislation. Both major parties have promised to do so as far back as 30 years ago – but none have done so despite being in a majority government position of power.
The reason we don’t already have effective integrity legislation, freedom of information laws and conflict of interest rules is that Barbados politicians don’t want such restraints put upon their corrupt activities!
Owen Arthur Was Once An Honest Man
When Owen Arthur entered politics, he was an honest man who wanted to do some good for his country.
That was true for most folks who entered politics in the past. It was also true that folks in the past knew right from wrong, and good from evil. Even if they didn’t always do the right thing, they knew they were doing wrong when they crossed the line.
But over the years with no rules and no standards to keep them on the narrow path, Owen Arthur and the other politicians lost sight of the boundaries. The “grey areas” of acceptable behaviours grew larger and larger every year that such corrupt behaviour went unchecked – until Barbados reached the point where we are at now.
The current government of Barbados is the most corrupt group of individuals that has ever governed this country. After three terms they have refined corruption to new levels never before achieved on this island. They award construction contracts large and small to family members and friends. They maintain illegal offshore assets and bank accounts. They deposit “campaign donations” into their personal bank accounts and never have to account to anyone.
They do all this not because they started out as corrupt people, but because without laws NO ONE can resist such temptation and power.
And that is why, my friends, that merely electing a new group of citizens to govern us will not solve anything in the long term.
No Country Can Stay Independent, Healthy And Free With Our Level Of Corruption
Barbados as a country and as a society cannot withstand the current levels of corruption by our elected and appointed government officials. Without effective Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information laws, Conflict of Interest rules and empowering citizens and oversight bodies to investigate and charge corrupt government officials, Barbados will continue to be dragged down, down, down.
From the Nation News…
Comissiong Calls For Integrity Legislation
Published on: 11/14/07.
PRESIDENT OF the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP), David Comissiong, is calling for integrity legislation in Barbados.
This requires politicians to declare assets before they go into office and the assets audited after they leave office. He asked the Electoral and Boundaries Commission to publish all contributions in the local media periodically.
Comissiong was speaking at a Press conference to announce his public education campaign for Independence. It was held at the Clement Payne Centre, Crumpton Street, The City, on Tuesday.
“We are calling for a system to be put in place that obligates all political parties, all candidates to disclose to the Electoral and Boundaries Commission all financial contributions in excess of $1 000 that they have received.
“We are saying that this nonsense about elite businesses being able to finance their own special parties and special candidates so they can exercise influence over the government; that practice must be exposed to public view.”
Comissiong said Canada had introduced a regulation, where any political contribution above a certain limit must be divulged in a number of days to the authorities or it was forfeited.
A report showing the contributions is also published periodically.
… read the original article online at The Nation News (link here)