Is The DLP Plan Sincere – Or A Last Minute Vote Grab?
DLP’s “A Model Freedom Of Information Law” Is Really A World Bank Document Downloaded December 15, 2007
Opposition leader David Thompson revealed the Democratic Labour Party’s plans for Integrity Legislation, Ministerial Conduct Rules and a Freedom of Information law during a media conference on Thursday. The DLP’s communications director emailed us the documents that were handed out at the conference and said that BFP would have been invited, “but” …
(Hey… no hard feelings, Mr. Eversley. Its not like we can show up with a name tag saying “BFP”)
Here is the email that arrived at BFP on Thursday afternoon Jan 3, 2008…
Hello BFP folks
Apologies for not getting back to you much sooner.
DLP leader David Thompson hosted a press conference today where he distributed the attached documents dealing with a proposed legal framework to promote accountability, transparency and accountability in public life and fight corruption.
The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected. The Freedom of Information Act and Integrity legislation will be dealt with in the first 100 days in office.
Any questions, give me a call. If you were part of the traditional media, you would have been invited to the news conference where you could have asked whatever you wanted.
DLP General Election Campaign 2008
A Good Start – But Too Little, Too Late
The DLP sent us three documents:
1/ “The Ministerial Code – A Proposal”
2/ “A Model Freedom Of Information Law”
3/ “Principles Underlying The Legal Framework For Integrity In Public Life In Barbados”
(These documents appear in full at the bottom of this article)
Before commenting on the contents, we’re going to take the weekend to really digest these documents – but the first thing we did was to run a Google “exact words” search to see if anything had been “borrowed” by the DLP…
Zap! The DLP document “A Model Freedom Of Information Law” is word-for-word downloaded from the World Bank with not one word changed. (World Bank Word document download link here)
There is nothing wrong with that, my friends. So many countries have implemented Freedom of Information (FoI) and Integrity Laws that much of the standard wordings and concepts have been tested and revised over the years and had all the legal bugs worked out. That’s a good reason for starting with the World Bank version of an FoI – but that is only a start. Presumably a DLP government would carefully consider any changes that should be made to tailor the document for Barbados.
The other two documents also contain sections that were grabbed from the internet. You can have some fun running an “exact words” Google search using some of the sentences from the DLP documents.
How Sincere Can A Last Minute Cut & Paste Job Be?
In school it might be called plagiarism, but as we said, in the real world there is nothing wrong with the DLP basing their Integrity plans on proven wordings and concepts. We even encouraged the DLP to do this months ago – saying that the government doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel to come up with Integrity Legislation as there are plenty of working models in use by various countries.
But we do know from the information in the documents that “A Model Freedom Of Information Law” was downloaded from the World Bank website only 18 days ago on December 15, 2007.
Frankly, we expected – we hoped – for better from the DLP. For two years we have been demanding that both the BLP and the DLP implement integrity standards within their own parties and as legislation. The DLP could have, should have, shown leadership all along. They should have, could have, had the legislation all set to go.
But what we received from the DLP was a cut and paste job thrown together at the last moment just for the election.
Barbados deserved better.
Do Thompson and the DLP really mean it? Are they willing to make the very tough decisions that go hand-in-hand with integrity legislation?
We’ll have more thoughts on that later this weekend.
Hey… What About The Promise That Candidates Would Reveal Their Net Worth?
No word on Thompson’s past promise that the DLP candidates would declare their finances before election day. We weren’t at the press conference so maybe something was said there – or maybe not.
DLP Electronic Documents Reveal Who Wrote Them, Where, When And Involved Corporations
One little word of advice to the DLP Communications Director Reudon Eversley…
When you emailed electronic copies of the documents to us, you provided way more information than you intended!
We’re not going to reveal the information on BFP, but if you sent the same Word documents to anyone else then they have the same information that we have and the cat is out of the bag! Have a look at the document properties and we think you’ll see what we mean.
Owen Arthur and the gang wouldn’t be too happy to know what computer was used to put the package together. 😉
Further Reading: Nation News – DLP Makes Integrity Pledge
Documents Distributed By DLP – January 3, 2008