David Thompson Reveals DLP’s Integrity and Freedom Of Information Plans – Much Cut and Pasted From The Internet Only A Few Days Ago

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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.

Best regards
Reudon Eversley
Communications Director
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

Documents Distributed By DLP – January 3, 2008

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”

1/ “The Ministerial Code – A Proposal”

DRAFT
(Revised December 15, 2007)

THE MINISTERIAL CODE – A PROPOSAL

BACKGROUND

1. The following pages contain a proposal for a draft code of ethics and procedural guidance for persons who assume ministerial office in a new DLP government. Its purpose is to clearly define the framework within which the bond of trust between the Government and the people of Barbados should be established. The Code which has been adapted from the United Kingdom Ministerial Code.

THE MINISTERIAL CODE

2. Ministers of the Government are expected to behave according to the highest standards of constitutional and personal conduct in the performance of their duties.

3. This Code provides guidance to Ministers on how they should act and arrange their affairs in order to uphold these standards. It lists the principles which may apply in particular situations. It applies to all Ministers of the Government, and covers Parliamentary Secretaries.

4. Ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in the light of the Code and for justifying their actions and conduct in Parliament.

5. Ministers only remain in office for so long as they retain the confidence of the Prime Minister. He is the ultimate judge of the standards of behaviour expected of a Minister and the appropriate consequences of a breach of those standards, although he will not expect to comment on every allegation that is brought to his attention.

6. The Code should be read against the background of the overarching duty on Ministers to comply with the law, including international law and treaty obligations, to uphold the administration of justice and to protect the integrity of public life. They are expected to observe the Seven Principles of Public Life set out in the appendix to this document, and the following principles of Ministerial conduct:

a. Ministers must uphold the principle of collective responsibility;

b. Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and actions of their ministries, departments and agencies;

c. It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament. Any inadvertent error should be corrected at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister;

d. Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public in providing information except where disclosure would be detrimental to the public interest as determined by the relevant statutes;

e. Ministers should similarly require civil servants who give evidence before Parliamentary Committees on their behalf and under their direction to be as helpful as possible in providing accurate, truthful and full information in accordance with the duties and responsibilities of civil servants;

f. Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests;

g. Ministers should avoid accepting any gift or hospitality which might, or might reasonably appear to, compromise their judgement or place them under an improper obligation;

h. Ministers must not use government resources for Party political purposes. They must uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service and not ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the accepted code of behaviour of civil servants.
MINISTERS AND APPOINTMENTS

Appointments by Ministers

7. The Prime Minister should be consulted in good time about the appointment or re-appointment of the Chairman and members of statutory boards and agencies.

8. In all such cases, the Prime Minister will need to be informed about the particular requirements of the post, the attributes essential for a candidate and the extent to which candidates meet such requirements. In particular, the Prime Minister should be informed of other factors bearing upon the appointment of particular candidates (e.g. potential conflicts of interest that may arise) and all other relevant information.

MINISTERS AND CIVIL SERVANTS

9. Ministers have a duty to:

a. Give fair consideration and due weight to informed and impartial advice from civil servants, as well as to other considerations and advice, in reaching policy decisions;

b. Uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service, and not to ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code;

c. Ensure that any influence over appointments is not abused for partisan purposes; and

d. Observe the obligations of a good employer with regard to terms and conditions of those who serve them.

10. Civil servants should not be asked to engage in activities likely to call in question their political impartiality, or to give rise to the criticism that people paid from public funds are being used for Party political purposes.

The role of the Accounting Officer

11. Under section 18 (1) of the Financial Management and Audit Act, the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs designates the persons who shall be Accounting Officers. The essence of the role is a personal responsibility for the propriety and regularity of the public finances for which he or she is responsible; for keeping proper accounts; for the avoidance of waste and extravagance; and for the efficient and effective use of resources. Accounting Officers answer personally to the Committee of Public Accounts on these matters, within the framework of Ministerial accountability to Parliament for the policies, actions and conduct of their Ministries/Departments.

12. Accounting Officers have a particular responsibility to see that appropriate advice is tendered to Ministers on all matters of financial propriety and regularity and more broadly as to all considerations of prudent and economical administration, efficiency and effectiveness and value for money. If a Minister in charge of a Ministry is contemplating a course of action which would involve a transaction which the Accounting Officer considers would breach the requirements of propriety or regularity, the Accounting Officer will set out in writing his or her objection to the proposal, the reasons for the objection and the duty to inform the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Auditor General should the advice be overruled. If the Minister decides nonetheless to proceed, the Accounting Officer will seek a written instruction to take the action in question. The Accounting Officer is obliged to comply with the instructions, send relevant papers to the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Auditor General, and inform the Accountant General of what has occurred. A similar procedure applies where the Accounting Officer has concerns as regards the value for money of a proposed course of action. The procedure enables the Committee of Public Accounts to see that the Accounting Officer does not bear personal responsibility for the actions concerned.

Civil servants and Party Conferences

13. Ministers should not ask civil servants to attend, or take part in, Party Conferences or meetings of policy or subject groups of any political party. In their official capacity, civil servants should not accept invitations to conferences convened by party political organisations.

MINISTERS’ CONSTITUENCY AND PARTY INTERESTS

14. Ministers should not use for Party or constituency work facilities provided at Government expense to enable them to carry out their official duties. Ministers should ensure that expenses for constituency work are not charged to the public purse.

15. Government property should not generally be used for constituency work or party activities.

16. Where Ministers have to take decisions within their Ministries/Departments which might have an impact on their own constituencies, they should, of course, take particular care to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

MINISTERS’ PRIVATE INTERESTS

17. Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise.

18. It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict and to defend that decision, if necessary by accounting for it in Parliament. The role of the Permanent Secretary is to ensure that advice is available when it is sought by the Minister, either by providing it personally, drawing on precedent and if need be other parts of government including the Secretary of the Cabinet, or to arrange for expert or professional advice from inside or outside Government. In cases of serious difficulty or doubt the matter may be referred to the Prime Minister for a view. But ultimately it is the responsibility of Ministers individually to order their own private lives in such a way as to avoid criticism, and the final decision about what action to take to achieve that is theirs.

19. Where it is proper for a Minister to retain a private interest it is the rule that he or she should declare that interest to Ministerial colleagues if they have to discuss public business which in any way affects it and that the Minister should remain entirely detached from the consideration of that business. Similar steps may be necessary if a matter under consideration in the ministry, department or agency relates in some way to a Minister’s previous or existing private interests such that there is or may be thought to be a conflict of interest. Particular care needs to be taken where financial interests are involved.

20. Personal information which Ministers disclose to those who advise them must be treated in confidence. Should the Ministry receive a request for this information it will take account of a range of factors including the confidentiality of the information. The relevant Minister will also be consulted and his or her views taken into account before a decision is made on disclosure. If an allegation is made that a particular Minister has a conflict of interest it must be for that Minister to explain his/her position and justify what has been done. In doing so, they may wish to make public the list of their private interests and the steps taken to avoid an actual or perceived conflict. It is open to them if they wish to confirm (if it is the case) that they have consulted their Permanent Secretary in accordance with the Code. The Minister should however consult the Permanent Secretary about the content of any such statement before making it to ensure that there is agreement about the content, and any disagreement should be referred to the Prime Minister.

21. The intention of these procedures is not to inhibit the holding of Ministerial office by individuals with wide experience, whether of industry, a profession or some other walk of life, but to ensure that systemic steps are taken to avoid the danger of an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

22. When they take up office Ministers should give up any other public appointment they may hold, except where the Prime Minister determines that the retention of such an appointment would be in the national interest.

23. Ministers should take care to ensure that they do not become associated with non-public organisations whose objectives may in any degree conflict with Government policy and thus give rise to a conflict of interest. Hence Ministers should not normally accept invitations to act as patrons of or otherwise offer support to pressure groups, or organisations dependent in whole or in part on Government funding. There is normally less objection to a Minister associating him or herself with a charity (subject to the points above) but Ministers should take care to ensure that in participating in any fund-raising activity, they do not place, or appear to place, themselves under an obligation as Ministers to those to whom appeals are directed (and for this reason they should not normally approach individuals or companies personally for this purpose). In any case of doubt, the Prime Minister should be consulted before a Minister accepts an association with such bodies. Ministers should also exercise care in giving public support for petitions, open letters etc.

24. There is no objection to a Minister holding trade union membership but care must be taken to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest. Accordingly:

a. Ministers should arrange their affairs so as to avoid any suggestion that a union of which they are a member has any undue influence;

b. They should take no active part in the conduct of union affairs, should give up any office they may hold in a union; and should receive no remuneration from a union; but

c. Ministers may make payments purely to protect future pension rights, if they have been employees of a Union.

Financial interests

25. Ministers must scrupulously avoid any danger of an actual or apparent conflict of interest between their Ministerial position and their private financial interests. In order to avoid such a danger, they should be guided by the general principle that they should either dispose of any financial interest giving rise to the actual or apparent conflict or take alternative steps to prevent it. The Permanent Secretary as Accounting Officer has a personal responsibility for financial propriety and regularity across the Ministry’s business, and his or her advice must be given particular weight where such issues arise.

26. Two particular ways in which a conflict of financial interest, or the perception of it, can arise are as follows:

a. From the exercise of powers or other influence in a way that does or could be considered to affect the value of interests held; or

b. From using special knowledge acquired in the course of their Ministerial activities in ways which bring benefit or avoid loss (or could arouse reasonable suspicion of this) in relation to their private financial interests.

27. Apart from the risk to the Minister’s reputation, two legal obligations must be born in mind. Any exercise or non-exercise by a Minister (including a Law Officer) of a legal power or discretion or other influence on a matter in which the Minister has a pecuniary interest could be challenged in the courts and, if the challenge is upheld, could be declared invalid.

28. If for any reason the Minister is unable or unwilling to dispose of a relevant interest, he or she should consider, with the advice of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and, where necessary, an external adviser what alternative measures would sufficiently remove the risk of conflict. These fall into two types: those relating to the interests themselves, and those relating to the handling of the decisions to be taken or influenced by the Minister.

29. Unless adequate steps can be taken in relation to the financial interests, the Ministry must put processes in place to prohibit access to certain papers and ensure that the Minister is not involved in certain decisions and discussions. The extent to which this can be done depends on the specific powers under which the Minister would be required to take decisions.

Partnerships

30. Ministers who are partners, whether in professional firms, for example solicitors, accountants etc, or in other businesses, should, on taking up office, cease to practise or to play any part in the day-to-day management of the firm’s affairs. They are not necessarily required, however, to dissolve their partnership or to allow, for example, their annual practising certificate to lapse. Beyond this it is not possible to lay down precise rules applicable to every case; but any continuing financial interest in the firm would make it necessary for the Minister to take steps to avoid involvement in relevant decisions.

Directorships

31. Ministers must resign any directorships they hold when they take up office. This applies whether the directorship is in a public or private company and whether it carries remuneration or is honorary. The only exception to this rule is that directorships in private companies established in connection with private family estates or in a company formed for the management of apartments of which the Minister is a tenant may be retained subject to the condition that if at any time the Minister feels that conflict is likely to arise between this private interest and public duty, the Minister should even in those cases resign the directorship. Directorships or offices held in connection with charitable undertakings should also be resigned if there is any risk of conflict arising between the interests of the undertakings and the Government. It is a well established and recognised rule that no Minister or public servant should accept gifts, hospitality or services from anyone which would, or might appear to, place him or her under an obligation. The same principle applies if gifts etc are offered to a member of their family.

Acceptance of gifts

32. This is primarily a matter which must be left to the good sense of Ministers. But any Minister in doubt or difficulty over this should seek the Prime Minister’s guidance. The same rules apply to the acceptance of gifts from donors with whom a Minister has official dealings in this country as to those from overseas, that is:

a. Receipt of gifts should be reported to the Permanent Secretary;

b. Gifts of small value (say, up to $250) may be retained by the recipient;

c. Gifts of a higher value should be handed over to the Ministry for disposal, except that:

(1) The recipient may purchase the gift at its cash value (abated by $250);

(2) If the Ministry judges that it would be of interest, the gift may be displayed or used in the Ministry;

(3) If the disposal of the gift would cause offence or if it might be appropriate for the recipient to use or display the gift on some future occasion as a mark of politeness, then the gift should be retained in the Department for this purpose for a period of up to five years;

d. Gifts received overseas worth more than the normal travellers’ allowances should be declared at importation to Customs and Excise who will advise on any duty and tax liability. In general, if a Minister wishes to retain a gift he or she will be liable for any tax or duty it may attract.

33. Gifts given to Ministers in their Ministerial capacity become the property of the Government and do not need to be declared.
APPENDIX

The Seven Principals of Public Life

Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

2/ “A Model Freedom Of Information Law”

A MODEL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I
DEFINITIONS AND PURPOSE

Section
1. Definitions 3
2. Purpose 4

PART II
THE RIGHT TO ACCESS INFORMATION HELD BY PUBLIC BODIES
3. Freedom of Information 4
4. General Right of Access 4
5. Legislation Prohibiting or Restricting Disclosure 5
6. Public and Private Bodies 5
7. Records 5
8. Request for Information 6
9. Time Limits for Responding to Requests 7
10. Notice of Response 7
11. Fees 8
12. Means of Communicating Information 8
13. If a Record is Not Held 9
14. Vexatious, Repetitive or Unreasonable Requests 10

PART III
MEASURES TO PROMOTE OPENNESS
15. Guide to Using the Act 10
16. Information Officer 10
17. Duty to Publish 11
18. Guidance on Duty to Publish 12
19. Maintenance of Records 12
20. Training of Officials 12
21. Reports to the Information Commissioner 12

PART IV
EXCEPTIONS
22. Public Interest Override 13
23. Information Already Publicly Available 13
24. Severability 13
25. Personal Information 13
26. Legal Privilege 14
27. Commercial and Confidential Information 14
28. Health and Safety 14
29. Law Enforcement 15
30. Defence and Security 15
31. Public Economic Interests 15
32. Policy Making and Operations of Public Bodies 15
33. Time Limits 16

PART V
THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
34. Appointment of the Information Commissioner 16
35. Independence and Powers 17
36. Salary and Expenses 17
37. Staff 17
38. General Activities 17
39. Reports 18
40. Protection of the Commissioner 18

PART VI
ENFORCEMENT BY THE COMMISSIONER
41. Complaint to the Commissioner 19
42. Complaint Decision 19
43. Direct Implementation of Decision 20
44. Commissioner’s Powers to Investigate 21
45. Appeal from Commissioner’s Decisions and Orders 21
46. Binding Nature of Commissioner’s Decisions and Orders 21

PART VII
WHISTLEBLOWERS
47. Whistleblowers 21

PART VIII
CRIMINAL AND CIVIL RESPONSIBILITY
48. Good Faith Disclosures 22
49. Criminal Offences 22

PART IX
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
50. Regulations 23
51. Interpretation 23
52. Short Title and Commencement 23

A MODEL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW

An Act to promote maximum disclosure of information in the public interest, to guarantee the right of everyone to access information, and to provide for effective mechanisms to secure that right.

Be it enacted by [insert relevant body, such as the Parliament] as follows:

PART I: DEFINITIONS AND PURPOSE

Definitions
1. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires: –
(a) “commissioner” is the office of the Information Commissioner, established by Part V, or the holder of that office, as the context may require;
(b) “information officer” is an individual with specific responsibilities under this Act, required to be appointed by every public body pursuant to section 16(1);
(c) “official” means any person employed by the relevant body, whether permanently or temporarily and whether part-time or full-time;
(d) “minister” means the Cabinet minister responsible for the administration of justice;
(e) “private body” has the meaning given by sub-section 6(3);
(f) “public body” has the meaning given by sub-section 6(1) and (2);
(g) “publish” means make available in a form generally accessible to members of the public and includes print, broadcast and electronic forms of dissemination;
(h) “personal information” means information which relates to a living individual who can be identified from that information; and
(i) “record” has the meaning given by section 7.

Purpose
2. The purposes of this Act are: –
(a) to provide a right of access to information held by public bodies in accordance with the principles that such information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific, and that decisions on the disclosure of such information should be reviewed independently of government; and
(b) to provide a right of access to information held by private bodies where this is necessary for the exercise or protection of any right, subject only to limited and specific exceptions.

PART II: THE RIGHT TO ACCESS INFORMATION HELD BY PUBLIC AND PRIVATE BODIES

Freedom of Information
3. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of information, including the right to access information held by public bodies, subject only to the provisions of this Act.

General Right of Access
4. (1) Any person making a request for information to a public body shall be entitled, subject only to the provisions of Parts II and IV of this Act: –
(a) to be informed whether or not the public body holds a record containing that information or from which that information may be derived; and
(b) if the public body does hold such a record, to have that information communicated to him or her.
(2) Any person making a request for information to a private body which holds information necessary for the exercise or protection of any right shall, subject only to the relevant provisions of Parts II and IV of this Act, be entitled to have that information communicated to him or her.

Legislation Prohibiting or Restricting Disclosure
5. (1) This Act applies to the exclusion of any provision of other legislation that prohibits or restricts the disclosure of a record by a public or private body.
(2) Nothing in this Act limits or otherwise restricts the disclosure of information pursuant to any other legislation, policy or practice.

Public and Private Bodies
6. (1) For purposes of this Act, a public body includes any body: –
(a) established by or under the Constitution;
(b) established by statute;
(c) which forms part of any level or branch of Government;
(d) owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided by Government or the State; or
(e) carrying out a statutory or public function,
provided that the bodies indicated in sub-section (1)(e) are public bodies only to the extent of their statutory or public functions.
(2) The Minister may by order designate as a public body any body that carries out a public function.
(3) For purposes of this Act, a private body includes any body, excluding a public body, that: –
(a) carries on any trade, business or profession, but only in that capacity; or
(b) has legal personality.

Records
7. (1) For purposes of this Act, a record includes any recorded information, regardless of its form, source, date of creation, or official status, whether or not it was created by the body that holds it and whether or not it is classified.
(2) For purposes of this Act, a public or private body holds a record if: –
(a) the public or private body holds the record, other than on behalf of another person; or
(b) another person holds the record, on behalf of the public or private body.

Request for Information
8. (1) For purposes of section 4, a request for information is a request in writing to any official of a public or private body that is in sufficient detail to enable an experienced official to identify, with reasonable effort, whether or not the body holds a record with that information.
(2) Where a request for information pursuant to section 4(1) does not comply with the provisions of sub-section (1), the official who receives the request shall, subject to sub-section (5), render such reasonable assistance, free of charge, as may be necessary to enable the request to comply with sub-section (1).
(3) An individual who is unable, because of illiteracy or disability, to make a written request for information pursuant to section 4(1) may make an oral request, and the official who receives an oral request shall, subject to sub-section (5), reduce it to writing, including their name and position within the body, and give a copy thereof to the person who made the request.
(4) A request for information under section 4(2) must identify the right the person making the request is seeking to exercise or protect and the reasons why the information is required to exercise or protect that right.
(5) An official who receives a request for information may transfer that request to the Information Officer for purposes of complying with sub-sections (2) and/or (3).
(6) A public or private body may prescribe a form for requests for information, provided that such forms do not unreasonably delay requests or place an undue burden upon those making requests.
(7) A public or private body which receives a request for information shall provide the requester with a receipt documenting the request.

Time Limits for Responding to Requests
9. (1) Subject to sub-section (3), a public or private body must respond to a request for information pursuant to section 4 as soon as is reasonably possible and in any event within twenty working days of receipt of the request.
(2) Where a request for information relates to information which reasonably appears to be necessary to safeguard the life or liberty of a person, a response must be provided within 48 hours.
(3) A public or private body may, by notice in writing within the initial twenty day period, extend the period in sub-section (1) to the extent strictly necessary, and in any case to not more than forty working days, where the request is for a large number of records or requires a search through a large number of records, and where compliance within twenty working days would unreasonably interfere with the activities of the body.
(4) Failure to comply with sub-section (1) is deemed to be a refusal of the request.

Notice of Response
10. (1) The response under section 9 to a request for information pursuant to section 4(1) must be by notice in writing and state: –
(a) the applicable fee, if any, pursuant to section 11, in relation to any part of the request which is granted, and the form in which the information will be communicated;
(b) adequate reasons for the refusal in relation to any part of the request which is not granted, subject only to Part IV of this Act;
(c) in relation to any refusal to indicate whether or not the public body holds a record containing the relevant information, the fact of such refusal and adequate reasons for it; and
(d) any right of appeal the person who made the request may have.
(2) The response under section 9 to a request for information pursuant to section 4(2) must be by notice in writing and state: –
(a) in relation to any part of the request which is granted, the applicable fee, if any, pursuant to section 11, and the form in which the information will be communicated; and
(b) in relation to any part of the request which is not granted, adequate reasons for the refusal.
(3) In relation to any part of a request that is granted, communication of the information must take place forthwith, subject only to Section 11.

Fees
11. (1) The communication of information pursuant to a request under section 4 by a public or private body may, subject to subsections (2) and (3), be made conditional upon payment by the person making the request of a reasonable fee, which shall not exceed the actual cost of searching for, preparing and communicating the information.
(2) Payment of a fee shall not be required for requests for personal information, and requests in the public interest.
(3) The Minister may, after consultation with the Commissioner, make regulations providing: –
(a) for the manner in which fees are to be calculated;
(b) that no fee is to be charged in prescribed cases; and
(c) that any fee cannot exceed a certain maximum.
(4) A public body shall not require payment of a fee under sub-section (1) where the cost of collecting that fee would exceed the amount of the fee.

Means of Communicating Information
12. (1) Where a request indicates a preference as to the form of communication of information contained in sub-section (2), a public or private body communicating information pursuant to a request for information under section 4 shall, subject to sub-section (3), do so in accordance with that preference.
(2) A request may indicate the following preferences as to the form of communication of information: –
(a) a true copy of the record in permanent or other form;
(b) an opportunity to inspect the record, where necessary using equipment normally available to the body;
(c) an opportunity to copy the record, using his or her own equipment;
(d) a written transcript of the words contained in a sound or visual form;
(e) a transcript of the content of a record, in print, sound or visual form, where such transcript is capable of being produced using equipment normally available to the body; or
(f) a transcript of the record from shorthand or other codified form.
(3) A public or private body shall not be required to communicate information in the form indicated by the person making the request where to do so would: –
(a) unreasonably interfere with the effective operation of the body; or
(b) be detrimental to the preservation of the record.
(4) Where a record exists in more than one language, communication of the record shall, from among those languages, be given in accordance with the language preference of the person making the request.

If a Record is Not Held
13. (1) Where an official who receives a request pursuant to section 4(1) believes that that request relates to information that is not contained in any record held by the public body, the official may transfer the request to the Information Officer for purposes of compliance with this section.
(2) Where an Information Officer receives a request pursuant to sub-section (1), he or she shall confirm whether or not the public body does hold a record containing the information and, if it does not, shall, if he or she knows of another public body which does hold the relevant record, as soon as practicable, either: –
(a) transfer the request to that public body and inform the person making the request of such transfer; or
(b) indicate to the person making the request which public body holds the relevant record,
whichever would be likely to ensure more rapid access to the information.
(3) Where a request is transferred pursuant to sub-section (2)(a), the time limit for responding to requests under section 9 shall begin to run from the date of transfer.
(4) A private body which receives a request pursuant to section 4(2) relating to information that is not contained in any record held by the private body shall notify the requester that it does not hold the information.

Vexatious, Repetitive or Unreasonable Requests
14. (1) A public or private body is not required to comply with a request for information which is vexatious or where it has recently complied with a substantially similar request from the same person.
(2) A public or private body is not required to comply with a request for information where to do so would unreasonably divert its resources.

PART III: MEASURES TO PROMOTE OPENNESS

Guide to Using the Act
15. (1) The Commissioner shall, as soon as practicable, compile in each official language a clear and simple guide containing practical information to facilitate the effective exercise of rights under this Act, and shall disseminate the guide widely in an accessible form.
(2) The guide in sub-section (1) shall be updated on a regular basis, as necessary.

Information Officer
16. (1) Every public body shall appoint an Information Officer and ensure that members of the public have easy access to relevant information concerning the Information Officer, including his or her name, function and contact details.
(2) The Information Officer shall, in addition to any obligations specifically provided for in other sections of this Act, have the following responsibilities: –
(a) to promote within the public body the best possible practices in relation to record maintenance, archiving and disposal; and
(b) to serve as a central contact within the public body for receiving requests for information, for assisting individuals seeking to obtain information and for receiving individual complaints regarding the performance of the public body relating to information disclosure.

Duty to Publish
17. Every public body shall, in the public interest, publish and disseminate in an accessible form, at least annually, key information including but not limited to: –
(a) a description of its structure, functions, duties and finances;
(b) relevant details concerning any services it provides directly to members of the public;
(c) any direct request or complaints mechanisms available to members of the public regarding acts or a failure to act by that body, along with a summary of any requests, complaints or other direct actions by members of the public and that body’s response;
(d) a simple guide containing adequate information about its record-keeping systems, the types and forms of information it holds, the categories of information it publishes and the procedure to be followed in making a request for information;
(e) a description of the powers and duties of its senior officers, and the procedure it follows in making decisions;
(f) any regulations, policies, rules, guides or manuals regarding the discharge by that body of its functions;
(g) the content of all decisions and/or policies it has adopted which affect the public, along with the reasons for them, any authoritative interpretations of them, and any important background material; and
(h) any mechanisms or procedures by which members of the public may make representations or otherwise influence the formulation of policy or the exercise of powers by that body.
Guidance on Duty to Publish
18. The Commissioner shall: –
(a) publish a guide on minimum standards and best practices regarding the duty of public bodies to publish pursuant to section 17; and
(b) upon request, provide advice to a public body regarding the duty to publish.

Maintenance of Records
19. (1) Every public body is under an obligation to maintain its records in a manner which facilitates the right to information, as provided for in this Act, and in accordance with the Code of Practice stipulated in sub-section (3).
(2) Every public body shall ensure that adequate procedures are in place for the correction of personal information.
(3) The Commissioner shall, after appropriate consultation with interested parties, issue and from time to time update a Code of Practice relating to the keeping, management and disposal of records, as well as the transfer of records to the [insert relevant archiving body, such as the Public Archives].

Training of Officials
20. Every public body shall ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the right to information and the effective implementation of this Act.

Reports to the Information Commissioner
21. The Information Officer of every public body shall annually submit to the Commissioner a report on the activities of the public body pursuant to, or to promote compliance with, this Act, which shall include information about: –
(a) the number of requests for information received, granted in full or in part, and refused;
(b) how often and which sections of the Act were relied upon to refuse, in part or in full, requests for information;
(c) appeals from refusals to communicate information;
(d) fees charged for requests for information;
(e) its activities pursuant to section 17 (duty to publish);
(f) its activities pursuant to section 19 (maintenance of records); and
(g) its activities pursuant to section 20 (training of officials).

PART IV: EXCEPTIONS

Public Interest Override
22. Notwithstanding any provision in this Part, a body may not refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, unless the harm to the protected interest outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Information Already Publicly Available
23. Notwithstanding any provision in this Part, a body may not refuse to communicate information where the information is already publicly available.

Severability
24. If a request for information relates to a record containing information which, subject to this Part, falls within the scope of an exception, any information in the record which is not subject to an exception shall, to the extent it may reasonably be severed from the rest of the information, be communicated to the requester.

Personal Information
25. (1) A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about a natural third party.
(2) Sub-section (1) does not apply if: –
(a) the third party has effectively consented to the disclosure of the information;
(b) the person making the request is the guardian of the third party, or the next of kin or the executor of the will of a deceased third party;
(c) the third party has been deceased for more than 20 years; or
(d) the individual is or was an official of a public body and the information relates to his or her function as a public official.

Legal Privilege
26. A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where the information is privileged from production in legal proceedings, unless the person entitled to the privilege has waived it.

Commercial and Confidential Information
27. A body may refuse to communicate information if: –
(a) the information was obtained from a third party and to communicate it would constitute an actionable breach of confidence;
(b) the information was obtained in confidence from a third party and: –
i. it contains a trade secret; or
ii. to communicate it would, or would be likely to, seriously prejudice the commercial or financial interests of that third party; or
(c) the information was obtained in confidence from another State or international organisation, and to communicate it would, or would be likely to, seriously prejudice relations with that State or international organisation.

Health and Safety
28. A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would, or would be likely to, endanger the life, health or safety of any individual.

Law Enforcement
29. A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would, or would be likely to, cause serious prejudice to: –
(a) the prevention or detection of crime;
(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders;
(c) the administration of justice;
(d) the assessment or collection of any tax or duty;
(e) the operation of immigration controls; or
(f) the assessment by a public body of whether civil or criminal proceedings, or regulatory action pursuant to any enactment, would be justified.

Defence and Security
30. A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would, or would be likely to, cause serious prejudice to the defence or national security of [insert name of State].

Public Economic Interests
31. (1) A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would, or would be likely to, cause serious prejudice to the ability of the government to manage the economy of [insert name of State].
(2) A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would, or would be likely to, cause serious prejudice to the legitimate commercial or financial interests of a public body.
(3) Sub-sections (1) or (2) do not apply insofar as the request relates to the results of any product or environmental testing, and the information concerned reveals a serious public safety or environmental risk.

Policy Making and Operations of Public Bodies
32. (1) A body may refuse to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or refuse to communicate information, where to do so would, or would be likely to: –
(a) cause serious prejudice to the effective formulation or development of government policy;
(b) seriously frustrate the success of a policy, by premature disclosure of that policy;
(c) significantly undermine the deliberative process in a public body by inhibiting the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views; or
(d) significantly undermine the effectiveness of a testing or auditing procedure used by a public body.
(2) Sub-section (1) does not apply to facts, analyses of facts, technical data or statistical information.

Time Limits
33. (1) The provisions of sections 26–31 apply only inasmuch as the harm they envisage would, or would be likely to, occur at or after the time at which the request is considered.
(2) Sections 27(c), 29, 30 and 31 do not apply to a record which is more than 30 years old.

PART V: THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER

Appointment of the Information Commissioner
34. (1) The Commissioner shall be appointed by the [insert head of State] after nomination by a two-thirds majority vote of [insert name of legislative body or bodies], and after a process in accordance with the following principles: –
(a) participation by the public in the nomination process;
(b) transparency and openness; and
(c) the publication of a shortlist of candidates.
(2) No-one may be appointed Commissioner if he or she: –
(a) holds an official office in, or is an employee of a political party, or holds an elected or appointed position in central or local government; or
(b) has been convicted, after due process in accordance with internationally accepted legal principles, of a violent crime and/or a crime of dishonesty or theft, for which he or she has not been pardoned.
(3) The Commissioner shall hold office for a term of seven years, and may be re-appointed to serve a maximum of two terms, but may be removed by the [insert head of State] upon a recommendation passed by a two-thirds majority vote of [insert name of legislative body or bodies].

Independence and Powers
35. (1) The Commissioner shall enjoy operational and administrative autonomy from any other person or entity, including the government and any of its agencies, except as specifically provided for by law.
(2) The Commissioner shall have all powers, direct or incidental, as are necessary to undertake his or her functions as provided for in this Act, including full legal personality, and the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property.

Salary and Expenses
36. The Commissioner shall be paid a salary equal to the salary of a judge of the Supreme Court [or insert name of appropriate court] and is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties.

Staff
37. The Commissioner may appoint such officers and employees as are necessary to enable him or her to perform his or her duties and functions.

General Activities
38. In addition to any other powers and responsibilities provided for in this Act, the Commissioner may: –
(a) monitor and report on the compliance by public bodies with their obligations under this Act;
(b) make recommendations for reform both of a general nature and directed at specific public bodies;
(c) co-operate with or undertake training activities for public officials on the right to information and the effective implementation of this Act;
(d) refer to the appropriate authorities cases which reasonably disclose evidence of criminal offences under this Act; and
(e) publicise the requirements of this Act and the rights of individuals under it.

Reports
39. (1) The Commissioner shall, within three months after the termination of each financial year, lay before [insert name of legislative body or bodies] an annual report on compliance by public bodies with this Act, the activities of his or her office and audited accounts of the office during that financial year.
(2) The Commissioner may from time to time lay before [insert name of legislative body or bodies] such other reports as he or she deems appropriate.

Protection of the Commissioner
40. (1) No criminal or civil proceedings lie against the Commissioner, or against any person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the Commissioner, for anything done, reported or said in good faith in the course of the exercise of any power or duty under this Act.
(2) For the purposes of the law of libel or slander, anything said or any information supplied pursuant to an investigation under this Act is privileged, unless that information is shown to have been said or supplied with malice.

PART VI: ENFORCEMENT BY THE COMMISSIONER

Complaint to the Commissioner
41. A person who has made a request for information may apply to the Commissioner for a decision that a public or private body has failed to comply with an obligation under Part II, including by: –
(a) refusing to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or to communicate information, contrary to section 4;
(b) failing to respond to a request for information within the time limits established in section 9;
(c) failing to provide a notice in writing of its response to a request for information, in accordance with section 10;
(d) failing to communicate information forthwith, contrary to section 10(3);
(e) charging an excessive fee, contrary to section 11; or
(f) failing to communicate information in the form requested, contrary to section 12.

Complaint Decision
42. (1) The Commissioner shall, subject to sub-section (2), decide an application under section 41 as soon as is reasonably possible, and in any case within 30 days, after giving both the complainant and the relevant public or private body an opportunity to provide their views in writing.
(2) The Commissioner may summarily reject applications: –
(a) which are frivolous, vexatious or clearly unwarranted; or
(b) where the applicant has failed to use any effective and timely internal appeals mechanisms provided by the relevant public or private body.
(3) In any application under section 41, the burden of proof shall be on the public or private body to show that it acted in accordance with its obligations under Part II.
(4) In his or her decision pursuant to sub-section (1), the Commissioner may: –
(a) reject the application;
(b) require the public or private body to take such steps as may be necessary to bring it into compliance with its obligations under Part II;
(c) require the public body to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; and/or
(d) in cases of egregious or wilful failures to comply with an obligation under Part II, impose a fine on the public body.
(5) The Commissioner shall serve notice of his or her decision, including any rights of appeal, on both the complainant and the public or private body.

Direct Implementation of Decision
43. (1) The Commissioner may, after giving a public body an opportunity to provide their views in writing, decide that a public body has failed to comply with an obligation under Part III.
(2) In his or her decision pursuant to sub-section (1), the Commissioner may require the public body to take such steps as may be necessary to bring it into compliance with its obligations under Part III, including by: –
(a) appointing an information officer;
(b) publishing certain information and/or categories of information;
(c) making certain changes to its practices in relation to the keeping, management and destruction of records, and/or the transfer of records to the [insert relevant archiving body, such as the Public Archives];
(d) enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials;
(e) providing him or her with an annual report, in compliance with section 21; and/or
(f) in cases of egregious or wilful failures to comply with an obligation under Part III, paying a fine.
(3) The Commissioner shall serve notice of his or her decision, including any rights of appeal, on the public body.

Commissioner’s Powers to Investigate
44. (1) In coming to a decision pursuant to section 42 or 43, the Commissioner shall have the power to conduct a full investigation, including by issuing orders requiring the production of evidence and compelling witnesses to testify.
(2) The Commissioner may, during an investigation pursuant to sub-section (1), examine any record to which this Act applies, and no such record may be withheld from the Commissioner on any grounds.

Appeal from Commissioner’s Decisions and Orders
45. (1) The complainant, or the relevant public or private body, may, within 45 days, appeal to the court for a full review of a decision of the Commissioner pursuant to section 42 or 43, or an order pursuant to section 44(1).
(2) In any appeal from a decision pursuant to section 42, the burden of proof shall be on the public or private body to show that it acted in accordance with its obligations under Part II.

Binding Nature of Commissioner’s Decisions and Orders
46. Upon expiry of the 45-day period for appeals pursuant to section 45, the Commissioner may certify in writing to the court any failure to comply with a decision pursuant to section 42 or 43, or an order pursuant to section 44(1), and the court shall consider such failure under the rules relating to contempt of court.

PART VII: WHISTLEBLOWERS

Whistleblowers
47. (1) No one may be subject to any legal, administrative or employment-related sanction, regardless of any breach of a legal or employment obligation, for releasing information on wrongdoing, or that which would disclose a serious threat to health, safety or the environment, as long as they acted in good faith and in the reasonable belief that the information was substantially true and disclosed evidence of wrongdoing or a serious threat to health, safety or the environment.
(2) For purposes of sub-section (1), wrongdoing includes the commission of a criminal offence, failure to comply with a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, corruption or dishonesty, or serious maladministration regarding a public body.

PART VIII: CRIMINAL AND CIVIL RESPONSIBILITY

Good Faith Disclosures
48. No one shall be subjected to civil or criminal action, or any employment detriment, for anything done in good faith in the exercise, performance or purported performance of any power or duty in terms of this Act, as long as they acted reasonably and in good faith.

Criminal Offences
49. (1) It is a criminal offence to wilfully: –
(a) obstruct access to any record contrary to Part II of this Act;
(b) obstruct the performance by a public body of a duty under Part III of this Act;
(c) interfere with the work of the Commissioner; or
(d) destroy records without lawful authority.
(2) Anyone who commits an offence under sub-section (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding [insert appropriate amount] and/or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.

PART IX: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Regulations
50. (1) The Minister may, by notice in the Gazette [or insert name of appropriate publication] and after consultation with the Commissioner make regulations regarding: –
(a) additional forms of communication of information under section 12(2);
(b) training of officials under section 20;
(c) reports to the Commissioner under section 21;
(d) any notice required by this Act; or
(e) any administrative or procedural matter necessary to give effect to this Act.
(2) Any regulation under sub-section (1) must, before publication in the Gazette, be laid before [insert name of legislative body or bodies].

Interpretation
51. When interpreting a provision of this Act, every court must adopt any reasonable interpretation of the provision that best gives effect to the right to information.

Short Title and Commencement
52. (1) This Act may be cited as the Right to Information Act [insert relevant year].
(2) This Act shall come into effect on a date proclaimed by [insert relevant individual, such as president, prime minister or minister] provided that it shall automatically come into effect six months after its passage into law if no proclamation is forthcoming.

3/ “Principles Underlying The Legal Framework For Integrity In Public Life In Barbados”

PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK
FOR INTEGRITY IN PUBLIC LIFE IN BARBADOS

Background

1. There has been a growing recognition in the Commonwealth Caribbean of the important contribution of good governance to the promotion of social and economic development. Strangely, however, little attention has been paid in the past to the role that political corruption, defined as the misuse of public power for private benefit, plays in retarding that development. This neglect may have been partly the result of the absence of a robust theoretical framework for analyzing the effects of corruption, and the difficulty of assembling a body of empirical evidence confirming its existence in specific jurisdictions. In Barbados, sporadic attention has focused on issues of perceived corruption and lack of public integrity, but no sustained effort has been made to analyse their scope, extent, and consequences.

2. In 1975, the then, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. J.M.G.M. Adams, tabled a resolution in Parliament calling upon the Government to introduce legislation to compel members of Parliament to disclose their assets. Adams subsequently made charges that members of the Government were corrupt, and when he became Prime Minister in a Barbados Labour Party administration towards the end of 1976 he instituted a commission of enquiry into the financial activities of the previous Democratic Labour Party government during the period 1961 to 1976. The report of that commission which was undertaken by the Hon. Justice Duffus, a former Chief Justice of Jamaica, concluded that there was no evidence of loopholes in the constitution, and procedures for the proper administration and control of the public finances in Barbados.

3. It is important to note that Adams introduced an Integrity in Public Life Bill in Parliament in 1979, but permitted it to die in the Senate. Further, the Hon. Henry Forde when he served as Leader of the Opposition in 1992 tabled a Resolution calling for a Committee of Parliament to formulate proposals for an Integrity Commission and to update the existing laws regulating integrity in public life. However, these initiatives have not been pursued by the BLP administration that came to power in September 1994, and is still in office today. Indeed, while the authorities signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption in April 2001, Barbados stands alone among the thirty-four contracting parties in its failure to ratify the Convention. Further, while Barbados served as the CARICOM regional negotiator in the negotiation of an international legal instrument against corruption under the aegis of the United Nations General Assembly, and signed the resulting convention in December 2003, to date, that too, has not been ratified.

4. In sum the historical record reveals a lack of conviction by BLP administrations, both past and present, about the desirability and necessity of legislation to combat corruption and promote an enabling framework for integrity in public life. It is not surprising, therefore, that there is a large degree of skepticism by the public of Barbados that politicians can be relied upon to implement an actionable programme, to inhibit the use of public office for personal gain. Indeed, a report on integrity systems in the Caribbean, prepared for Transparency International by a group of UWI academics in 2004 on the basis of consultations with major stakeholders, noted that the absence of integrity legislation in Barbados is sustained by unfounded popular perceptions about the degree of probity, integrity and accountability in public life in our country. Indeed, the report commented that this perception has led to a lack of vigilance by the public, and the unwillingness of the political directorate to establish mechanisms such as the passage of integrity legislation, to safeguard against nepotism, conflict of interest and corruption.

The way forward

5. The Democratic Labour Party is convinced that integrity in public life is an essential component of good governance. A recent statement by the President of the Party, the Hon. David Thompson confirms the commitment that an administration under his watch will be eager to send correct signals to the public that it will not tolerate incidents of graft, corruption, nepotism and non-transparency. In essence, what is being proposed is to enact a body of laws that restrain behaviour which is damaging to relationships in the community, and are shaped by the basic values which the community, by and large, accepts. Such laws will be reinforced by a process of community education which sustains our common set of basic values.

6. It will be seen, therefore, that the enactment of integrity legislation is not intended as an imposition of standards and values on public officials, but rather as serving to flesh out those ethical values that we already hold. Thus, it can be accepted that the basic components of a system of public integrity must include:

a. Legislation which identifies the duties and responsibilities of public officials;

b. Agencies which establish policies and procedures to implement this legislation; and

c. Agencies which can investigate complaints about administrative decisions and maladministration.

7. The basic components of the legal framework has been identified in international conventions against corruption, such as the Inter-American Convention, and the United Nations Convention, to both of which Barbados is a signatory. Article III of the Inter-American convention calls on signatories to enact in their domestic law, inter alia:

a. Standards of conduct for the correct, honorable, and proper fulfillment of public functions. These standards shall be intended to prevent conflicts of interest and mandate the proper conservation and use of resources entrusted to government officials in the performance of their functions. These standards shall also establish measures and systems requiring government officials to report to appropriate authorities acts of corruption in the performance of public functions. Such measures should help preserve the public’s confidence in the integrity of public servants and government processes;

b. Mechanisms to enforce these standards of conduct;

c. Instruction to government personnel to ensure proper understanding of their responsibilities and the ethical rules governing their activities; and

d. Systems for registering the income, assets and liabilities of persons who perform public functions in certain posts as specified by law and, where appropriate, for making such registrations public.

8. Similarly, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Article 8 stipulates that

a. Each State Party shall endeavour, where appropriate and in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, to establish measures and systems requiring public officials to make declarations to the appropriate authorities regarding, inter alia, their outside activities, employment, investments, assets and substantial gifts or benefits from which a conflict of interest may result with respect to their functions as public officials., and

b. Each State Party shall consider taking, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, disciplinary or other measures against public officials who violate the codes or standards established in accordance with this article.

9. The process of drafting an appropriate legal regime for Barbados is facilitated by the existence of legislation governing integrity in public life in Antigua, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, which can serve as models for this exercise. In addition, it can draw upon legislation enacted, but not yet promulgated, in Dominica. The Trinidad and Tobago integrity legislation is the oldest in existence in the Commonwealth Caribbean, having been enacted in 2000 to update the legislation of 1987.

Basic components of the proposed integrity legislation

10. The proposed legislation will provide for the establishment of an Integrity Commission to receive declarations of the affairs of persons holding specific positions in public life, for the purpose of establishing probity, integrity and accountability in public life, and for related matters. Central to the operation of the legislation, will be the Integrity Commission, a statutory body established with the following functions:

a. Receiving, examining and retaining declarations filed pursuant to the relevant section of the Act;

b. Making enquiries to verify and determine the accuracy of declarations filed under the Act;

c. Inquiring into allegations of bribery or corruption under the Act;

d. Receiving and investigating complaints of non-compliance with the provisions of the act; and

e. performing such other functions as required by the Act.

11. The Act will impose an obligation on a ‘person in public life’ to make financial disclosure to the Commission in the prescribed form. The person making disclosure will be required to declare information regarding his office or offices, his income, assets and liabilities, the assets of his spouse or relative acquired or traceable to his income and all gifts made by him which exceed a specified value.

12. For purposes of the Act, the expression ‘person in public life’ will be defined in to mean a person holding an office or position listed in the First Schedule and a person who has acted continuously for a period of not less than six (6) months in any office listed in that Schedule. A person holding the office of Minister of Government is expressly listed in the First Schedule.

13. The Act will require every person who is a ‘person in public life’ when the Act comes into force to make an initial disclosure to the Commission within three (3) months of the date of commencement of the Act. In the case of a person who becomes a ‘person in public life’ after the commencement of the Act, it will provide for the initial disclosure to be made within three (3) months of the date of his becoming a ‘person in public life’.

14. Following the making of the initial disclosure to the Commission upon the commencement of the Act, every ‘person in public life’ is required by the relevant section of the Act within three (3) months after the end of each income year to file a declaration in respect of that income year.

Structure and functions of the Integrity Commission

15. The Commission will comprise not more than six persons, appointed by the Governor General, from among persons not in public life (as defined by the Act) to include persons with qualifications in law and accountancy and giving due recognition to civil society interests. The persons appointed shall be citizens of Barbados who are persons of integrity and high standing, The Governor General will designate the persons to be Chairman and Deputy Chairman. The Commission will be serviced by appropriate staff, who will be public officers, headed by a Registrar. The expenses of the Commission will be a charge on the public purse. The Commission will receive the declarations required under the act, and where necessary carry out investigations and examinations to determine the accuracy of any declaration that it deems to require special scrutiny. Where, after an examination the Commission is satisfied that a declaration is fully made, it shall provide the person who submits it with a certificate of compliance.

Code of Conduct

16. A key component of the legislation is the establishment of a Code of Conduct, which will apply to a person in public life, and to all persons exercising public functions. The Code of Conduct will require the person in public life to act in the following manner:

a. Be fair and impartial in exercising his/her public duty;

b. Afford no undue preferential treatment to any group or individual;

c. Arrange his private interests whether pecuniary or otherwise in such a manner as to maintain public confidence and trust in his/her integrity;

d. Not use his/her office for the improper advancement of his own or his family’s personal or financial interests or the interest of any person;

e. Not engage in any transaction, acquire any position or have any commercial or other interest that is incompatible with his office, function and duty or the discharge thereof;

f. Not use public property or services for activities not related to his/her official work;

g. Not directly or indirectly use his/her office for private gain;

h. Not be a party to or shall undertake any project or activity involving the use of public funds in disregard of the Financial Orders or other Regulations applicable to such funds;

i. Not use information that is gained in the execution of his office and which is not available to the general public to further or seek to further his private interests;

j. Not use his office to seek to influence a decision made by another person or public body to further his own private interests;

k. Not accept a fee, gift or personal benefit, except compensation authorised by law that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of his or her duties of office; and

l. Where however a gift or personal benefit referred to above exceeds two thousand, dollars in value or where the total value received directly or indirectly from one source in any twelve month period exceeds two thousand dollars, a person in public life shall file with his declaration, a statement indicating the nature of the fee, gift or benefit, its source and the circumstances under which it was given or accepted.

Investigations

17. The Commission will have the power to undertake investigations in response to representations by the public, or on its own initiative. In order to undertake its investigations the Commission may:

a. Authorise an investigating officer to conduct an enquiry into any alleged or suspected offence;
b. Require any person, in writing, to produce, within a specified time, all books, records, accounts, reports, data, stored electronically or otherwise, or any other documents relating to the functions of any public or private body;

c. Require any person, within a specified time, to provide any information or to answer any question which the Commission considers necessary in connection with any enquiry or investigation which the Commission is empowered to conduct under this Act;

d. Require that any facts, matters or documents relating to the allegations or breach, be verified or otherwise ascertained by oral examination of the person making the complaint; and

e. Cause any witness to be summoned and examined upon oath.

18. Where, in the course of any enquiry the Commission is satisfied that there is a need to further expedite its investigations; it may exercise the following powers:

a. Require any person to furnish a statement in writing:

(1) Enumerating all movable or immovable property belonging to or possessed by him in Barbados or elsewhere, or held in trust for him, and specifying the date on which each such property was acquired and the consideration paid therefore, and explaining whether it was acquired by way of purchase, gift, inheritance or otherwise;

(2) Specifying any monies or other property acquired in Barbados or elsewhere or sent out of Barbados by him or on his behalf during a specified period;

b. Require any person to furnish all information in his/her possession relating to the affairs of any suspected person being investigated and to produce or furnish any document or true copy of any document relating to the person under investigation and which is in the possession or under the control of the person required to furnish the information; and
c. Require the manager of any bank, or financial institution, in addition to furnishing information specified above to furnish any information or certified copies, of the accounts or the statement of accounts at the bank or financial institution of any person being investigated.

Penalties

19. The Commission may impose penalties for non-compliance with the requirement by persons in public life to make timely and correct declarations, and for making false declarations.

Regulations

20. The Commission may make regulations prescribing

a. The manner in which enquiries may be carried out and any matters incidental to or consequential upon such enquiries;

b. The standard or criteria for the initiation of such enquires;

c. The manner in which information received from the public would be assessed and verified;

d. The form of declaration to be submitted and any additional forms which have been prescribed or which may become necessary;

e. The period within which any information or document required by the should be furnished or produced;

f. The fees that are payable by members of the public in respect of a certified copy of a public declaration statement and the manner in which such statements may be made available;

g. Any other matter or thing in respect of which it may be necessary to make Regulations for carrying this Act into effect.

21. The Regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution of Parliament.

15/Dec/2007

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78 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

78 responses to “David Thompson Reveals DLP’s Integrity and Freedom Of Information Plans – Much Cut and Pasted From The Internet Only A Few Days Ago

  1. Rumplestilskin

    I think that this is wonderful and Thompson has shown some decision here, unlike the current administration that has had ages to do just this.

    A step in the right direction and the DLP Manifesto is giving the public what it is demanding.

    Regarding timing, it is obvious that Thompson waited deliberately close to the election to show his support for such Legislation, but ensured that he would be distinguished from the BLP Manifesto by this.

    If he had promised this earlier, you can be sure that the BLP would have followed even if only in promise and even if only in amended version, just to dilute his ‘claim to fame’ and protect votes.

    B doing this now, any BLP copy or contra to this move is going to look weak i.e., they did did not a decision before and are only doing it because Thompson made the decision to do it and vote grabbing.

    I agree with the timing.

  2. Floyd

    Election fever is heating up and “leadership” has been touted as a major issue. A number of learned and other commentators seem to be anointing the current Prime Minister as exhibiting outstanding leadership especially on the economic front. This anointing occasioned me to do some fact checking and a few of the facts rather surprised me:

    1. Barbados attained status of number one developing country prior to this current administration. Maybe it was just me, but I was getting the distinct impression that the number one ranking was evidence for the outstanding leadership of Owen Arthur. The facts suggest that Barbados actually lost this number one ranking and then regained it under Owen Arthur’s leadership.
    2. The international debt rating of Barbados as measured by Moodys and Standard and Poors has never improved under this administration, but has instead declined under this administration. We currently have a quite respectable BBB+, but our initial rating was an A- rating. Again, maybe its just me, but I was getting the impression that an above average rate of economic growth in Barbados was evidence for the outstanding leadership of Owen Arthur.
    3. The Barbados current account was in surplus from 1992 to 1996 but has been in deficit every year since. Again, maybe its just me, but I was getting the impression that excellent performance in international trade and business was evidence for the outstanding leadership of Owen Arthur.
    4. The 2007 Balance of Payments reports from the Central Bank of Barbados suggests that the vast majority of capital flows into Barbados and the resulting reserves are really borrowed funds, especially related to Build Own Lease and Operate (BOLT) projects such as the new prison at Dodds. Again, maybe its just me, but I was getting the impression that generating strong foreign exchange reserves was evidence of the outstanding leadership of Owen Arthur.
    5. A number of high profile public sector appear to have been less than well executed. Key public services such as health care, public transportation appear to be in less than the best condition. Again, maybe its just me, but I was getting the impression that flawless execution of government business and projects was evidence of the outstanding leadership of Owen Arthur.

    These few facts must be weighed against the historic low in the rate of unemployment and the high standard of living in Barbados. It seems to me that Barbados distinguished itself as a country with a high standard of living since the 1970,s and this has largely remained the case. The Owen Arthur administration has certainly had its fair share of successes but the macroeconomic picture is for more mixed than some would have you believe and the administration has failed dismally in the execution of major projects and the quality of public services delivered. I have no problem giving kudos to Owen Arthur and his administration, but I am not sold on this notion of exemplary management of economic affairs.

  3. Jerome Hinds

    Barack Obama…..won IOWA on a platform for CHANGE !

    David Thompson…….has put the DLP campaign on a platform for CHANGE !

  4. Rumplestilskin

    Floyd, at least YOU have your eyes open and are assessing for yourself, unlike many who just follow whatever they are told by the ‘propaganda machine’, blindly.

    Good for you.

    I am an independent citizen, not party affiliated.

    I make my own assessments and decisions and have come to the same conclusions as you have.

    Peace.

  5. Amen

    Hallelujah!!

    Finally a politician with balls to moot Integrity Legislation and FOI Act.

    I have waited for this for soooo loooong!

    I really do not care where it was cut and paste from the internet or BFP backside … the point is that there is finally a working draft on the table.

    We should always be looking at moving forward. That is the path of progress but when we getting involved in discussing who thought about it first, we get nowhere.

    **************************

    BFP comments

    We’d love to join with you in wholesale celebration, but there is no legislation in that package… only a promise to do it in the first 100 days and we don’t know what the legislation would be because it hasn’t been created yet.

    Of course, both the DLP and BLP have made that promise before about introducing integrity legislation.

    We are going to take a closer look this weekend, but don’t forget this is all johnny-come-lately stuff just thrown together for the election.

    How sincere is the DLP about this?

  6. james

    This is an obvious, possibly cynical, response to the BFP campaign of almost 2 years so congratulations are in order. I’m not a great fan of Thompson and I hear the issues raised in this article but this is a positive move. I am less sure that this will translate into action post-election if the DLP win. Now if only the DLP candidates would declare their assets, I’d stop sitting irritatingly on the fence and turn from undecided to DLP overnight. I might even turn into a slightly less excitable version of Wishing In Vain. And that’s not a threat, it’s a promise.

  7. Anonoymous

    and what have you received from the BLP in this regard?

    ***************

    BFP Comments

    From the BLP we received hundreds of millions of dollars in cost-overruns, zero accountability and only god knows how many secret Swiss bank accounts.

    It is a damn shame that Thompson and the DLP didn’t commit to Integrity Legislation until 11 days before the vote.

  8. banned

    Practically speaking people who do well for themselves particularly in fee based and trading businesses do even better in politics as a result of the mileage and the contacts that they acquire when they hold office. So there are other personal benefits that can be obtained outside of the massive kick backs provided by expatriots seeking government contracts. Of course for the very successful among us who now exist at the tip of the Manslow Pyramid, it would be the crowning moment of finally making Prime Minister that will prove enough. I could live with that as long as he promises to go away and leave us alone at the end of is first term.

  9. banned

    Floyd
    “Historic low in the rate of unemployment”
    Maybe it is just me but if you add the “voluntarily unemployed” (a category designed by the present administration and for which there is no workable definition) back to the unemployment figures you will wind up with the usual position of hovering between 17 and 20%. Just adding to your argument Sir.

  10. Linchh

    BFP:

    You said:
    “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.”

    What exactly do you mean? You seem to imply that your knowledge about document preparation enables you to identify what computer was used. This seems like arrant nonsense to me.

    *************************

    BFP Replies

    Hello Linchh,

    Nope, no nonsense. Only a few features in MicroSoft Word that most ordinary folks don’t know about. Your WORD document created on your computer contains a whole layer of hidden information and, depending upon how your PC is set up, that information can include your name, the name of your company where you work, previous versions of the document and even administrative comments. You can access this information through the Properties and Security commands.

    Our friends at the DLP who created these documents either didn’t know all the above or forgot to strip it off. Thus, the documents we received have the names and companies of the persons who put the package together, plus a previous version.

    Why would Owen Arthur and the gang be upset?

    Because… Barbados government employees at the Ministry of “name removed” are generally not supposed to do political work for the opposition while at their desks! 🙂

  11. Anonymous

    Floyd,
    This is the type of analysis we need. Let’s see how the BLPites respond to your scientific/factual revelations.

  12. Observing

    banned, could you expand on the voluntarily unemployed argument? and was this category used in calculations back in the 90’s???

    I always contended that governments did well with statistical manipulation. It’s always good to unearth some of it from time to time.

  13. John

    Trinidad has locked up a PM based on Integrity Legislation. Mind you he also got out of jail too.

    George Bush just toughened up the Freedom of Information Act in the US.

    Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information are old hat. I think both parties ought to be shame.

    Floyd’s list show exactly why the politics of inclusion should rightly be called the politics of illusion.

    I even see in this morning’s newspaper a claim that that Owen was a DEM originally. Maybe that is why he is now borrowing the old DEM motto “How Long is too long if its good” to justify, as they once did, his need for a fourth term.

    Neither set ain’t no use. Six of one is half dozen of the other.

    We are real idiots!!

  14. 2 Cents

    Folks on this issue of Integrity Legislation it is time to treat BFP as we do the BLP haters who post vile and vulgar comments on this blog! “Ignore their schizophrenic rants”

    For months BFP has challenged WIV, and many others including Mr Eversley as recently as this past weekend to “Show” or “Link” the DLP proposed strategy/legislation on this national issue.

    Now that this has been deivered the goal post has been shifted.

    Irresponsible BFP!

    This comment posted by a BLP supporter who will be voting DLP on January 15th.

    **************************

    BFP Comments

    The goal post has not shifted.

    We asked to see the draft integrity legislation and it still doesn’t exist. We see a partial proposal for Ministers only – with no penalties. You mislead when you say that we asked to see a “strategy”… that’s just fine fine words and we wanted draft legislation. Yes, the DLP has thrown something together for the last 11 days of the election – which is better than nothing, but that is not the draft legislation.

    The DLP doing a few cut and pastes from the internet at the last moment is hardly cause for great joy for those of us who have been after them for two years (not months) to take a stand.

    Now… when will the DLP candidates be disclosing their finances and assets prior to the vote as Thompson promised?

  15. Hants

    BFP asks….How sincere is the DLP about this?
    Hants says…. Very sincere.

    and says….”It is a damn shame that Thompson and the DLP didn’t commit to Integrity Legislation until 11 days before the vote.”

    Wrong. For months David Thompson has been saying he will introduce Integrity Legislation and a high level of accountability to Government.

    If BFP thinks he is does not mean it, so be it but surely you can at least give the DLP 100 days considering you have given Owen Arthur and the BLP 13 years (4000 days) .

    All they did was whatever you said Glyne Clarke, Clyde Mascoll,Noel Lynch and the “cost overrun specialists” are responsible for.

    At least they support the Bs.
    BBBBBillion $ in Taxpayers money wasted,
    BBBBBillions $ in debt.

    100 days BFP. Thats all the Dems are asking.

    BLP Integrity Legislation??????

  16. banned

    Observing
    When category labelled “Voluntarily Unemployed” was introduced by Arthur about eight or so years ago, it was presumably targeted at removing the boys from off of the “block’ and putting them into fields to harvest cotton and cane, and avoiding the importation of Vincie and Guyanese labour. If memory served me correctly even the Central Bank got into the act by supporting the government’s quote of 10%. The problem of course came when there was no practically adequate way to define the term but the category has since been included in the “Employed” figure without a murmur from the press.

    Even if there is no way to define “Voluntarily Unemployed” the point is that is invalid and misleading (Oranges and apples) to compare unemployment figures leading back to when the category first came into being to those that represent the position prior to that time.

    …Another Arthur stunt analogous to his notion of “transparency” where a PM can comfortably offer a cabinet minister the job of Chief Justice because the process was done transparently.

  17. reality check

    it is hard to believe that any political party worth its salt would not have integrity legislation and complete financial disclosure as an automatic minimum of what they want for the citizens and their country.

    To download a copy from the World Bank mere days before an election shows that they have not given this matter serious concern and lack sincerity.

    The argument that Owen would steal this idea is completely fallacious. Owen couldn’t possibly promise integrity as a BLP platform as he has no credibility and has been stealing so long he is unlikely to set up more legislation to crucify himself.

    Keep up the pressure BFP. This looks like amateur hour when the Nation is desperately in need of professional men of integrity and conscience.

  18. BFP

    BFP Comments to 2 cents

    The goal post has not shifted.

    We asked to see the draft integrity legislation and it still doesn’t exist. We see a partial proposal for Ministers only – with no penalties. You mislead when you say that we asked to see a “strategy”… that’s just fine fine words and we wanted draft legislation. Yes, the DLP has thrown something together for the last 11 days of the election – which is better than nothing, but that is not the draft legislation.

    The DLP doing a few cut and pastes from the internet at the last moment is hardly cause for great joy for those of us who have been after them for two years (not months) to take a stand.

    Now… when will the DLP candidates be disclosing their finances and assets prior to the vote as Thompson promised?

  19. Michelle

    The clicher for me is not the dissemination of a document, but to walk the talk…take the high road and have all DLP candidates declare their assets, maybe that will force other peoples hand and truly demonstrate sincerity.

    Anxious for action

  20. iisnoone

    Good news!

    However, I don’t like this clause:

    “(2) A public or private body is not required to comply with a request for information where to do so would unreasonably divert its resources.”

    This could be misused. i.e. We don’t have to give you any accounting for anything because we are busy. Who determines what is unreasonable?

    In my view, use of “unreasonable” requires an impartial body to decide what is and what isn’t.

  21. Yardbroom

    I will not slink away from the truth, I have never done, and will now do it now:

    I hear, “we demanded this,”and “we demanded that,” may I respectfully ask, who is we?

    Have the “we” got the right to demand, with the authority that is being expressed.

    Have the “we” got a mandate for this authority, the hundreds of thousands of people in Barbados, have issues that need attention, and yet here, there is labour on a “one trick pony.”

    A leader in a Democratic country, has to take his party where he wants to go. He has not got the luxury of making a decision in a second and it is policy the next day.

    We must not get above ourselves, there is a Democratic Labour Party of Barbados, of the people, for the people and long may that be so.

    ************************

    BFP Comments

    Who is “WE” that demanded Integrity Legislation? Six friends sitting on a beach drinking beer. Two years ago.

    So WE started Barbados Free Press and gave it to the people of Barbados, for BFP is not ours, but is in our care as a trust for the moment.

    And now WE demand integrity legislation, and over 100,000 readers per month stop by to see what we all have to say about it. More readers than any other Bajan website.

    And the DLP put something together from cut and pasting it off the internet, in good part because of WE.

    Last minute cut and paste is not what WE demand, but at least WE have them talking about it now… and WE will not stop talking and demanding until the rot is gone. IF Thompson and the DLP are elected, and do not do what they say they will, or put in half measures, then WE will continue to make demands and expose that which needs to seen.

    Cliverton, Marcus, George, Robert, Shona & Auntie Moses + 100,000 readers per month
    Somewhere near Grape Hall, Barbados

  22. reality check

    “A leader in a Democratic country, has to take his party where he wants to go. He has not got the luxury of making a decision in a second and it is policy the next day.”

    sorry Yardbroom but this integrity legislation has been debated within the DLP for some time now. There is a determined bunch who truly believe it is their turn at the trough and want nothing to do with tight integrity laws and full dicslosure of assets.

    This is not a change for men of conscience nor is it good for the Nation.

  23. Michelle, you couldn’t be more right in asking to walk the walk but all polticians like to cover their ass…sets.
    Let’s see if there will be any action.

  24. BFP

    BFP replies to Yardbroom…

    Who is “WE” that demanded Integrity Legislation? Six friends sitting on a beach drinking beer. Two years ago.

    So WE started Barbados Free Press and gave it to the people of Barbados, for BFP is not ours, but is in our care as a trust for the moment.

    And now WE demand integrity legislation, and over 100,000 readers per month stop by to see what we all have to say about it. More readers than any other Bajan website.

    And the DLP put something together from cut and pasting it off the internet, in good part because of WE.

    Last minute cut and paste is not what WE demand, but at least WE have them talking about it now… and WE will not stop talking and demanding until the rot is gone. IF Thompson and the DLP are elected, and do not do what they say they will, or put in half measures, then WE will continue to make demands and expose that which needs to seen.

    Cliverton, Marcus, George, Robert, Shona & Auntie Moses + 100,000 readers per month
    Somewhere near Grape Hall, Barbados

  25. Red Lake Lassie

    The DLP wouldn’t have bothered to cut & paste this integrity package if BFP hadn’t made them.

    Good work, BFP! Don’t let them fall back.

  26. Viewers, readers, who can really tell? What is obvious is that contributions to your articles have drop while they are on the rise over at BU.

    Oh i forgot you moderate and BU does not. ha ha ha ha ha

    ****************

    BFP Comments

    Hi Adrian,

    Yes, we have to moderate otherwise those folks who have been attacking us will post dozens or hundreds of vile and threatening comments per day. I guess they still find BFP worthy of their attention.

  27. Funny thing about conflict of interest, an example would be which every company the minister is with profiting from the perversion of the office the minister is holding. This “legislation” seen here seems rife with loopholes and other things. Still no real indication of anything more of a slap on the wrist for any minister stepping out of line. Its like cowboy “X” changing his name to cowboy “O”. Still the same vandalism, just with a different stamp.

    I’m not saying we become like old feudal Japan (beheading officials every few months) but what threat comes from “PM Review”, all it says; if the PM wants you there, then there isn’t squat anyone can do about it other than the PM. No real threat to the PM himself either apparently.

    Be cautious of our leaders being influenced by foreign powers. (No swipe at Thompson’s bloodline intended). Still the matter of that debt hanging over-head and other messes the BLP will leave behind (should I say might?). It certainly will be a trial by fire for thompy, with BLP friends still in high places and BLP agents running amok. Not holding my breath on the first 100 days thing, the PM isn’t really the shot caller here anymore, they just like to give that impression but the one in charge is who deals with the money.

  28. Jason

    When are Thompson and his candidates going to declare their assets?

    He promised and time is running out!

  29. Yardbroom

    My argument has always been, and remains constant. Integrity Legislation is something to work for and should be encouraged. For it to work many things have to be changed, structures have to be in place, appeal bodies have to be set up, committees of probity have to be in place, but it is the people who administer these entities that will determine outcomes.

    My reasoning is underpinned by fact, Barbados has Laws and a legal frame work like most Democratic countries, and yet things happen that should not, why? because other forces are at work.

    These forces will be in Barbados, with or without Integrity Legislation. We need men and women, who have the courage and moral character to say no, to long established practices, and that will only happen under strong leadership, and direction.

    There is no magic bullet on its own, in Integrity Legislation.

    When we have a leader, who has taken the first step for change, to be “churlish” and say that is not good enough, or what “we” demand is not right.

    To suggest that all the readers of a blog, agree with all the sentiments expressed there, by the admin and numbers blogging signify that, is stretching it a bit, but I will let that pass – as this statement makes the point.

    It is true that, BFP has started a blog, which by any standard is successful, that does not mean that every thing they say, or do is always right – to suggest, or imply that should be the case, is to negate the freedom, that the blog was supposed to grant to individuals in the first place.

    ***********************

    BFP Comments,

    Hi YB

    We would never presume to say that all or even a majority of our readers agree with us on each and every issue.

    Perhaps our basic difference in approaching integrity legislation is this…

    You take the Prime Minister’s position that integrity legislation is “nice to have”, “something to work towards” Heck, Barbados has been “working towards” integrity legislation for over 40 years now.

    Our position is that effective integrity legislation is foundational to creating accountability, because without it, there are no rules and few can withstand the temptation of having no rules.

    We also know that public morality follows legislation. Folks say “you can’t legislate morality” … and that is a big lie. All legislation begins with a moral position.

    We say, if we want our Barbados politicians to be honest – put laws in place to show them the boundaries and standards. Most will obey.

  30. Yardbroom

    BFP I am surprised, that you would say I take the Prime Minister’s position on anything, but to suggest that, in order to give ammunition to you argument is not worthy of you.

    *****************

    BFP comments,

    But Yardbroom, you spoke his position on integrity legislation almost verbatim. Please excuse me for pointing that out.

  31. John

    BFP

    I dug out an article Sanka Price wrote back in 2006 which summarises the history of integrity legislation in Barbados.

    A Bill was actually introduced by “TOM” Adams back in 1979 I think but it died in committee stage.

    Last time Integrity Legislation appeared in Parliament was in 1995.

    This thing has been going since the early 1970’s, probably before.

    The first time it was dealt with it became a matter of colour and did not progress.

  32. Floyd

    Barbados achived No.1 developing country status in 1990. Check the following website for the reports.

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1990/

  33. Reudon A. Eversley

    Freedom of Information legislation works. When I was a student in Canada many years ago, I had the opportunity to research and write a term paper on the impact of the Federal Government’s “Access to Information Act” for a Media Law course. The findings were convincing. FOI legislation keeps government on its toes. It makes information that previously was unavailable, available. It is available for use not just to the media but the average citizen who is interested in making sure that government is held accountable.

    The BLP promised Freedom of Information legislation but never delivered. I am not surprised because this regime has been about information control. Have you noticed how many senior journalists have left the profession since this BLP government was in power? Some couldn’t take the abuse which sometimes came in the most vile form with the “f” word, the “r… hole”, etc. etc.

    By the way, I should point out that most FOI legislation draws from the US model as the US was to first to give citizens the legal right of access to government information. It is common in drafting legislation to look at examples elsewhere for best practice which is what the DLP has done in this case. Rest assured that every piece of legislation will be modified to reflect Barbadian reality.

  34. Bob

    Adrian…. your note regarding the fall off of the contributors to BFP is not without cause….. I sent some contributions many months ago on a subject i felt very strong about and recieved no reply.. then there was this message from BFP that I was replying too Fast….. so I quit sending anything.

    Someone said that Arthur had coined the phrase “Voluntary Idle”….. this was coined by Tom Adams in 1980 or 1981

    As for lame “post & paste” Integrety Legislration by the DLP…. well it is at least a beginning of an intention to which the BLD in in complete ignorance of… after all it was promised by them more than 13 years ago.

    I thank you BFP for being very instrumental in forcing the issue over the prolonged time period for the desired Integrity Legislation and I hope you continue the good fight.

    I would like you to ask your readers to add their suggestions as to what they would like to see as part of the Legislation…. I have a few ideas of my own… for another time

  35. Hants

    The choice is easy.

    Anyone who thinks the BLP has been doing a good job over the last 13 years should vote BLP.

    Those who believe what BFP has said about BLP Corruption involving the Judiciary, cost overruns , VECO and 3S boss Danos and Hardwood Housing
    have no choice but to get rid of the BLP and vote
    DLP.

    BFP….You claim you know what the BLP has done.

    Do you want to keep them in power because David Thompson has not promised Integrity Legislation in the precise manner you requested?

    100 days is all David Thompson and the DLP are asking for. That is a reasonable request.

    I believe in a level playing field and all candidates should be called on to declare their assets, not just DLP candidates.

    ******************

    BFP Comments,

    Hi Hants,

    As we said… we’re going to take the weekend to look closely at the DLP’s package and then we will see.

    Look… we have a window into some of the DLP’s internal discussions about integrity legislation and we are well aware that not everyone in the DLP candidate roster is on board. You see, there really are some DLP folks who think it should be their turn at the trough. We’re not just talking candidates here.

    We are putting the DLP on notice that IF they are elected and then fail to deliver effective Integrity Legislation LIKE THE LAST TIME THEY PROMISED TO DO SO, we will give them no quarter.

    Many of our DLP friends on this blog are blinding themselves to flaws in the DLP’s integrity legislation because it suits them to be willfully blind.

    So we will continue to hold the DLP’s feet to the fire.

  36. Yardbroom

    BFP, my concern is that I am not sure if your desire to be right, overrides your concern for the citizens of Barbados. It appears that if what you want, is congruent with what is good for Barbados, that is fine, but your main concern is what you deem to be right, and it should be manifestly seen by all, to be so, to the finest detail.

    My position is, that I am insignificant, what is important is the ordinary Barbadian, if it is that I am wrong, and they are happy and their lot is improved, that will please me, more than anything in the world.

    I sincerely hope, I have misread you, and misrepresented your position on this “central issue.”

    I believe this is so fundamental, to what we are and what we want to be, that I could not let it go. As is your right, you can have the last word.

    ***************************

    BFP Comments

    I understand where you are coming from, Yardbroom. We just have a different opinion on whether or not we are willing to let ourselves be deceived yet again. We will not accept a watered-down solution to integrity and so far that is what Thompson has promised to deliver. And Lord… look what the DLP did after 2 years of our nagging and pleading… they did a last minute cut and paste from the World Bank. Talk about an attitude, “Oh ya. Grab a little o that an a little a this and throw it in a pot an that should satisfy the public calls for integrity legislation.”

    The DLP’s integrity stance is an election gimmick and we don’t like that.

    That the BLP have to go is a given. Not even worth talking about. You will notice that our attention has shifted to the DLP because they are the only hope for Barbados at this point in time.

    We will vote DLP, but we will be holding our noses as we do so. And so help us, if they use some trickery to get around the timely passing of EFFECTIVE integrity legislation, there will be a new political force created virtually overnight.

    This Barbados Free Press isn’t about just this election – it is about the Barbados that we will leave for our grandchildren.

  37. Anonymous

    So you clamoured about them not having integrity legislation mainstreamed in the campaign. They did such, and you say it’s too little too late and can’t be trust. Asses, again.

    *******************

    BFP replies,

    There is no “integrity legislation” presented. There are bits and pieces cobbled off the internet a few days ago. Presented with 11 days left till voting day.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree then, won’t we?

  38. Floyd

    The price of oil is one of the most closely watched economic variables. As the price of oil has continued to rise steadily to $100 there has been much concern and discussion. The government has taken credit for skilfully piloting us through this tricky period.

    I have no desire to take anything from them and they may be right. But it would be amiss of me if I did not point out that one of the raging debates in economics right now, is why the high oil price has done so little damage to economic growth around the world.

    Despite the oil being above $75 a barrel for much of the last year or so, I cannot find evidence of any economy in the Caribbean, Asia, Europe or North America that has been pushed into recession. The fact is that economies around the world have been unbelievably resilient in the face of the surge in oil prices.

    While there was a global recession in 1990-1991, there is no such recession present now.

    I am sorry, but again,in my view the hard evidence does not provide any obvious support for exceptional economic management in the face of rising oil prices in the case of Barbados under Owen Arthur.

  39. Floyd

    I find it most interesting that between 1990 and 1991 Barbados actually improved its ranking on the Human Developedment Index from no.2 to number 20 and maintained it between 1991 and 1992.

    Maybe we need to be careful in using that measure to gauge economic management in Barbados.

  40. frankology

    Have you noticed how many senior journalists have left the profession since this BLP government was in power? Some couldn’t take the abuse which sometimes came in the most vile form with the “f” word, the “r… hole”, etc. etc.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Reudon, you being a former Managing Editor would have realised that the majority of senior journalists move away from the media because of two fundamental reasons. (1) Due to better job offers especially in the PR sector and being the mouthpiece for business entities. (2) Take-overs and employees preferring pay-out packages. In your case it was a take-over.

    By the way, what have become of the declaration of assets by nominated candidates before January 15?

  41. Maat

    Is it true that after the dissolution of parliament for the purpose of a general election, there is no ruling party and no Prime Minister until the result of the election is known? If this is the case then the media can refer to Owen Arthur as the former PM and the BLP as the former ruling party. These people are just nominated candidates with no more authority than any other candidate.
    I wonder what would happen if there is a protracted dispute over the election results. Can the former ruling party resume the reins of government until the dispute is settled?
    I also wonder what would happen in the case of equal numbers of BLP and DLP candidates been elected.

    Peace

  42. Maat

    The whole issue of integrity legislation been undertaken in 100 days is another one of the promises that all candidates and parties tend to make to appease the demands of the voting public. A promise still remains a comfort… to some.

    The DLP candidates do not have to wait for their leader to announce the disclosure of their assets. This disclosure is their own free choice and can be done to show their personal intentions with regard to integrity.

    All it takes is for one or two of the candidates to set the standard and we will soon know who is who and what they stand for. Political candidates are usually quick to jump on the band wagon of something that is popular with the public. Who will start the ball rolling?

    John’s comments starting with;
    “Trinidad has locked up a PM based on Integrity Legislation. Mind you he also got out of jail too.”

    and ending with;
    “Neither set ain’t no use. Six of one is half dozen of the other.

    We are real idiots!!”

    Well said.
    Tens of thousands (perhaps millions) of British and Americans have voiced opposition against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Similar numbers
    have blogged and written about their concerns that the US constitution has been circumvented and that the current US administration and congress has undermined the principles of freedom and democracy that the US is based on. Nothing has changed.

    BFP and BU are well meaning, however it takes more than awareness (although awareness is the start) to change things.

    Mr. Estwick is reported to have expressed a policy of the DLP that may be the way to influence the development policy of our representatives. This is based around the decentralisation of government authority through the formalisation of community councils.

    If this concept is developed and community or parish councils, are given ‘teeth’ to demand the inclusion of legislative proposals; along with the ability to recall their elected representative (fire the bum), then our demands for integrity legislation would have to be met and the politicians will learn that they can fool some of the people………

    Peace

  43. Maat

    Floyd may find that the economy shows it’s best results when you have near slave labour conditions. If the majority are working class and striving to overcome poverty, they will consume and try to save. A small middle class will do the high end spending and a minute number of wealthy people will profit from the whole system and advance their profit and growth as the evidence of a strong economy.

    Peace

  44. Linchh

    BFP:

    You saw that the DLP documents on FOI, Integrity in Public Life, and the draft Ministerial Code are “cut and paste jobs” taken from the internet to respond to the calling of the General election. Yet you claim that the model FOI law was downloaded from the World Bank web site on 15 December 2007, while the draft Ministerial Code and the Principles Underlying Integrity Legislation both bear the date of December 15, 2007. Is there some special significance to that date, which is actually 5 days before Owen Arthur announced the date for the General Election?

    Are you suggesting that DLP’s agents were prescient enough to do their cutting and pasting just before Owen Arthur rang the election bell? If David Thompson is so clairvoyant, should I not ask him to tell me what will happen on January 15, 2008?

    Have you considered the possibility that the documents that you received from Reudon Eversley do not tell the who story, and provide no indication of how long the topics with which they deal have been under discussion? Incidentally, the model FOI law cannot stand by itself, and is it not possible that there is an accompanying commentary to which you have not been made privy? Or, perhaps you have been made a privy?

    What seems to be lacking in your commentary is an understanding of process. The fact that a document can be obtained from the internet does not mean that it is not obtainable from a more direct source. In addition, the “Principles Underlying Integrity Legislation” reads like a discussion document. Indeed, it states:
    “The process of drafting an appropriate legal regime for Barbados is facilitated by the existence of legislation governing integrity in public life in Antigua, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, which can serve as models for this exercise. In addition, it can draw upon legislation enacted, but not yet promulgated, in Dominica. The Trinidad and Tobago integrity legislation is the oldest in existence in the Commonwealth Caribbean, having been enacted in 2000 to update the legislation of 1987.” Is it not possible that the persons who wrote that document had the draft legislation to which they were referring, but which has not been made available to the public, and chose to write in a manner that conceals that fact?

    It seems that you have misunderstood the purpose of the Ministerial Code, which clearly states that it has been adapted from the UK document. In its introductory section it states that its intention is to provide procedural guidance to Ministers, but it leaves it to the individual to draw upon his/her underlying ethical principles in determining how to act in particular circumstances. Absent evidence to the contrary, should we not assume that none of the potential DLP ministers are ethically challenged?

    One final point. David Thompson’s effort is far superior to the position of Owen Arthur, who, in attempting to explain why the BLP has done nothing about anti-corruption legislation during the 14 years he has been in office is on record as saying: “All efforts have since then been directed towards using that U.N. Convention
    as the basis for preparing new modern legislation in Barbados to fight
    corruption in all forms and at all levels.

    Since it goes way beyond fighting corruption by elected officials, a series of
    extensive consultations have been arranged to sensitise all stakeholders and
    to get it right.

    We had hoped that we would by now be in the position to repeal the 1929
    Act, and replace it by this new modern and comprehensive legislation based
    on the UN Convention which Sir Louis signed on behalf of the Government
    and people of Barbados. In the event that it does not reach Parliament in this
    term, it will be the first order of business of the new Labour Party
    administration in its fourth term.”

    *************************

    BFP Replies,

    Hello Linchh,

    Yes, the DLP has been talking all along about Integrity Legislation – long before December 15, 2007 – about 35 years before that as a matter of fact.

    But in the 2 years that Mr. Thompson has been at the helm, there has only been talk and not much of that. Heck, the DLP’s announcement was a big surprise to at least two of your candidates who had never heard of it. I suppose it is possible that the author of the DLP Integrity Package had been reading the World Bank Freedom of Information document for years before Dec 15th, but we do know that on December 15th, the DLP author downloaded the document from the World Bank’s website.

    We know the author of the DLP’s integrity package, and we also know that it was put together on the 15th during business hours at the Ministry of ……

    We know that because the author was unaware of certain features of the MicroSoft Word software that was used to prepare the package.

    You might be surprised to learn that we agree with much of what you have said – especially that a thorough and considered process is necessary to implement the package.

    Our criticism of the DLP is that it wasted the past two years when Integrity Legislation was simply not considered important enough to be on the party’s radar. The impression is that the DLP was dragged kicking and screaming to the Integrity Dance and that it released a last-minute cut and paste job for election purposes. Which is why we are viewing the package with some skepticism.

    The one area that we strongly disagree with you on is your statement “Absent evidence to the contrary, should we not assume that none of the potential DLP ministers are ethically challenged?”

    This is right from Owen Arthur’s position on Integrity Legislation. Owen states we don’t need it because Bajans in general are an honest group.

    The truth is that without written standards with real penalties for breaches of those standards, most folks will be tempted. You have the wrong attitude about laws. Laws are primarily to keep honest folks honest. The crooks will always do their thing, law or no law, but without real standards most folks will eventually be compromised.

    Your DLP candidates are no more or less honest than the BLP candidates were when they assumed their offices – we are all only people.

    Once again, it is the johnny-come-lately cut and paste and two years wasted that causes us to view the DLP’s integrity package with some doubt.

    Now… when are your candidates going to file their financial disclosures as promised by Thompson?

  45. John

    Maat
    January 5, 2008 at 3:04 am

    I also wonder what would happen in the case of equal numbers of BLP and DLP candidates been elected.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    One could offer to switch parties if he became the PM!!

    Problem is there would be a mad scramble, more like a stampede and everybody would get confused.

    Something like this could only work in St. Vincent which had a similar thing happen with Sir James Mitchell, an independent.

    Incidentally, how come no Bajan PM ever wrote a biography and no party ever tried to get an autobiography written about a beloved PM?

    What is wrong with all our PM’s that they and their parties let Sir James Mitchell show them up so?!!

  46. banned

    David Commission winning a seat in a virtually tied election result and having the swing vote. (ANR Robinson again) No complaints here.

  47. BFP

    BFP Replies,

    Hello Linchh,

    Yes, the DLP has been talking all along about Integrity Legislation – long before December 15, 2007 – about 35 years before that as a matter of fact.

    But in the 2 years that Mr. Thompson has been at the helm, there has only been talk and not much of that. Heck, the DLP’s announcement was a big surprise to at least two of your candidates who had never heard of it. I suppose it is possible that the author of the DLP Integrity Package had been reading the World Bank Freedom of Information document for years before Dec 15th, but we do know that on December 15th, the DLP author downloaded the document from the World Bank’s website.

    We know the author of the DLP’s integrity package, and we also know that it was put together on the 15th during business hours at the Ministry of ……

    We know that because the author was unaware of certain features of the MicroSoft Word software that was used to prepare the package.

    You might be surprised to learn that we agree with much of what you have said – especially that a thorough and considered process is necessary to implement the package.

    Our criticism of the DLP is that it wasted the past two years when Integrity Legislation was simply not considered important enough to be on the party’s radar. The impression is that the DLP was dragged kicking and screaming to the Integrity Dance and that it released a last-minute cut and paste job for election purposes. Which is why we are viewing the package with some skepticism.

    The one area that we strongly disagree with you on is your statement “Absent evidence to the contrary, should we not assume that none of the potential DLP ministers are ethically challenged?”

    This is right from Owen Arthur’s position on Integrity Legislation. Owen states we don’t need it because Bajans in general are an honest group.

    The truth is that without written standards with real penalties for breaches of those standards, most folks will be tempted. You have the wrong attitude about laws. Laws are primarily to keep honest folks honest. The crooks will always do their thing, law or no law, but without real standards most folks will eventually be compromised.

    Your DLP candidates are no more or less honest than the BLP candidates were when they assumed their offices – we are all only people.

    Once again, it is the johnny-come-lately cut and paste and two years wasted that causes us to view the DLP’s integrity package with some doubt.

    Now… when are your candidates going to file their financial disclosures as promised by Thompson?

  48. Bimbro

    Well said, BFP, in your reply, above, to Linchh.

    Why should we need to rely, on the whim of Bajan politicians either to be honest and open, or not!

    Set it in statute-stone and then there can’t be any confusion!!!!

  49. Bush tea

    No doubt it is due to my own ignorance, but BFP’s whole attitude to this Integrity business as it relates to the DLP is most confusing.

    After championing this noble cause for two years, and arguably forcing the DLP to take a firm position, not only to promise action within 100 days, but to also specify exactly which model they intended to pursue, BFP seems to be upset.

    Who in their right minds do not copy and paste internationally standardized documents?

    What more acceptable model exists outside of the UN’s?

    The fact that documents were downloaded for onward distribution at a particular time is no way to determine the length of time that a previously downloaded copy has been under discussion, or even a hard copy.

    What other action would BFP have preferred?

    I think that BFP should adopt the position that:-
    a) This is a good, even if late start.
    b) Now let us look at the details, section by section
    c) How would this legislation have influence actions over the past 10 years?
    d) What are the weaknesses or areas where special consideration is needed for Barbados.

    Most importantly, it is time now for BFP to move to the next level of integrity…. insisting that persons who are elected can stand the test of high personal moral and ethical standards. (..and maybe we should be scrutinizing them here on this forum one by one)

    As far as ‘declaring assets’, this is just a meaningless gesture which is designed to comfort the ignorant. Everyone else knows that assets can be easily hidden in companies, offshore arrangements and through family and other close contacts. Let us forget that red herring and get into the details of the proposed model.

    Congratulations on your persistence BFP,
    YOU HAVE WON THAT BATTLE,
    Now it is time to advance and stop complaining that you should have had an easier win.

    *******************

    BFP Replies

    Hi Bush Tea,

    We certainly understand your points, but we do have a different perspective after reading an article on the history of integrity legislation in Barbados. We have been “this far along” many times in the past and then the citizens took their eye off the ball and both the DLP and the BLP bailed out of passing the laws.

    OK… now we are going to monitor the DLP to ensure that they pass EFFECTIVE integrity legislation and they don’t slacken their “resolve”. We put quotes around “resolve” because a last minute cut and paste just for an election campaign is still worth very little.

    No politician has any credibility left on this island. Be they old, young, new, experienced, PEP, DLP, BLP doan matter. They are all on close probation.

    Now… where are those financial disclosures as promised by Mr. Thompson?

  50. Linchh

    BFP:

    You are harping on your contention that you” know the author of the DLP’s integrity package, and we also know that it was put together on the 15th during business hours at the Ministry of ……

    We know that because the author was unaware of certain features of the MicroSoft Word software that was used to prepare the package.”

    My investigation of the document properties tell me that you are overreaching. Nuff said!

    *************************

    BFP Replies

    Really? Perhaps you’d like to tell the folks the name of the author then and the government ministry where he works?

    Didn’t think so.

  51. Anonymous

    This was copied from Bahamas Weblog Blog. Just to say that B’dos does not exist in a vacuum.

    December 30, 2007
    Public Accounts in The Bahamas – An accounting long overdue: Politicians love to spend what’s not theirs

    The Tribune editorial of Thursday, December 27, 2008 lead us through the recent ‘debate’ in the House of Assembly over the FNM governments appropriations bills that were presented to Parliament to clear up the PLP’s budget over runs during the government’s fiscal year 2006 – 2007. If I remember correctly the budget over runs were reportedly in excess of $150 million dollars.

    Of course the PLP did look bad as a result of the appropriations – as they should – and they felt it was important to defend their honour. Unfortunately they did not express remorse, just the usual symbolism over substance.

    However, the problem goes deeper than PLP or FNM budget deficits. And Dr. Milton Friedman explains why as follows:

    There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income. More…
    Until our government, FNM, PLP or any other group understand this it is doubtful things will change, leaving future generations of Bahamians saddled with mountains of debt. A debt that now totals almost three billion dollars.

    And so The Tribune editorial is correct that in spite of the PLP defending the indefensible, “the exercise was certainly worthwhile. An accounting to the people of this country as to how their taxes are being managed was long overdue”.

    To that I say three cheers. Now it’s in the FNM’s court to continue to properly account to the Bahamian people on a regular basis, even when they might be as embarrassed as the PLP felt over their lack of consideration for being accountable in the recent past.

    In the FNM’s first two terms as the government of The Bahamas, they brought the country a long way where transparency is concerned. Like most governments they went off the tracks on several issues their last two or three years in power.

    The FNM paid the price and were voted out of office. After spending five years in the political ‘wilderness’ they were re-elected in May this year and now have the opportunity to institutionalise accountability through legislation.

    I wonder if they have the political will?

  52. Wishing in Vain

    DLP MANIFESTO PUTS PEOPLE FIRST
    BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS (01/04/2008) — The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) will outline a comprehensive, holistic, and people-centred plan for developing Barbados when it unveils its 2008 General Election manifesto tomorrow (Saturday) night.

    Entitled Pathways to Progress, the 56-page document will be made public via a multi-media presentation at a mass meeting at Passage Road, Bridgetown, beginning at 7 p.m. DLP President and Political Leader, David Thompson, heads a high-powered team of speakers.

    “Our 2008 manifesto is a landmark document that was prepared after much consultation with Barbadians from all walks of life. It is anchored on traditional Democratic Labour Party values of putting people first and seeks to take the social revolution started by Errol Barrow, Cameron Tudor and the other stalwarts to the next level,” Thompson said.

    “The agenda speaks to the reality which currently faces Barbados and is built on the four pillars of good governance, law and order, economic empowerment, and genuine social transformation. It aims to achieve balanced and sustainable development for the benefit of all Barbadians,” Thompson added.

    Other speakers at the Manifesto launch, to be streamed “live” via the DLP’s Internet website, are candidates Chris Sinckler, Freundel Stuart, Irene Sandiford-Garner, Haynesley Benn, Dr. David Estwick, and Campaign Manager, Brandford Taitt.

    It has been an eventful first full week of DLP campaigning since the pre-Christmas announcement of the January 15 election date. The week began with a record turn-out on New Years Day at a cultural extravaganza in Oistins where the full slate of candidates was presented. Retired editor and veteran political commentator, Harold Hoyte, said it was “the biggest political event I have ever attended in Barbados.”

    The DLP expects another massive crowd in Passage Road tomorrow night as it continues to bring a message of hope to those Barbadians who are looking for a change of government come January 15.

  53. Linchh

    BFP Replies

    Really? Perhaps you’d like to tell the folks the name of the author then and the government ministry where he works?

    Didn’t think so.
    ************************************************
    Why should I help you on your little fishing trip? By making a statement that I know to be patently untrue, you have lost all credibility with me. Sorry, but you are wasting your time dragging this dead red herring.

    ****************

    BFP Replies,

    “Patently untrue”?

    Obviously you are not a DLP insider, or you would have had the newly-instituted “crash course” in “be careful when using MicroSoft Word”.

    Cheers in any event!

    Robert

  54. Amen

    Dear BFP,

    You got me there!

    I forgot that political parties does produce legislation to accompany their manifesto pledges so as to prove their sincerity.

    Only goes to show, the old brain ain’t ticking like it used to. Or is it?

    You are being too hard and pessimistic. Take the pledges from both parties on face value and let us hold the winning party to account. It is very hard to shoot down ideas of people or parties before they have had a chance to implement.

    Just like Greenland … give it a chance. Let’s put it to the test so that we can know which side knows what they are talking about.

  55. How time flies

    AS much as I hate to agree with Reudon Eversley he is partially right about the reason for senior journalists leaving the profession.

    Since the BLP came to office it has systematically put pressure behind the scenes to silence many journalists who wanted to do serious work. The party used several tactics. I know what they are. I know the nasty politicians who did it. I also know the corrupt journalists that aided and abetted them. The end result is a level of journalism (for lack of a better term) that does not offend. Journalism in Barbados died under the BLP.

    The DLP was different. Sure they fumed, fretted, and attacked the media but they did not interfere with the media or seek to control it – other than CBC. I am not sure what the new generation Dems will be like but I am waiting to see whether the media will suddenly turn into an attack bulldog again come January 16.

  56. banned

    BFP
    “No politician has any credibility left on this island. Be they old, young, new, experienced, PEP, DLP, BLP doan matter. They are all on close probation.”

    Didn’t realise that the PEP had even a chance to do anything wrong. Think you are painting a little wide friend.

    *******************

    BFP Comments

    Hi banned. Marcus here.

    I agree that including the PEP was too wide. I’ll speak to Clive and see if he’ll revisit what he wrote.

  57. Jerome Hinds

    The DLP expects another massive crowd in Passage Road tomorrow night as it continues to bring a message of hope to those Barbadians who are looking for a change of government come January 15.

    ************************************************
    Wishing in Vain,

    You were spot – on.

    Conservative estimates put the crowd in Passage Road at about 28,000 people.

    Six….times what the BEES had at the RAC – MA – TAZZ !

  58. reality check

    Now that we have a DLP Manifesto with some teeth in it, lets stop the harping and get every man and woman of voting age out to sweep the BLP out of office.

    Drive people to the polling stations, count votes going in and going out of each polling station, give money or time to the candidate in your ridings, etc etc.

    The time is now and there can be no excuses from even the most apolitical , skeptical and cynical whether they be white, black, light chocolate, dark chocolate, red, green, poor, rich, working man, business man, student or whatever.

    Don’t just go to rallys, get all your friends and family to vote and get involved in helping every candidate.

    We need to get the DLP elected before we hold their feet to the fire for enforcing basic democratic principles of accountability, transparency and integrity and good common sense governance at every level.

  59. Pensive

    Like Michelle and so many others, I would have to agree that disclosure of assets would indicate sincerity by those members of the DLP. However, shouldn’t some review of compensation by the ministers of gov’t be reviewed to create an atmosphere of integrity. If persons who are well qualified receive salaries that are commensurate with their qualifications and experience, it is hoped that the likelihood of corruption is erased. Furthermore, how about a plan in place to have a board or group established to provide some accountability to the way ministers run their ministries and to be “watchdogs” against corruption. Also, let us hear some discussion of a review to the laws of B’dos that will allow for proper prosecution of those in gov’t to receive the adequate weight of the law if found guilty of misuse of the funds of taxpayers.

    Pensive

  60. Andrew

    Jerome Hinds

    Yeah man, that crowd was humongous – and to think, no entertainment but what a DJ provided.

    It just shows that Oistins was no flook.

    Let’s keep the pressure up.

    Let the people know that (according to a Barack Obama poster) it is a “CHANGE that we can believe in”.

    Change We Can Believe In”

  61. Anonymous

    Very good suggestions Pensive. It is amazing the good ideas expressed on this blog. Of course there is also some pure drivel expressed but I have finally learned who to ignore and who to read. Long live BFP and the posters who really inform.

  62. Johnnie Too Bad

    Fellow travellers at BFP, congrats on getting even a cut and paste job. Pass marks for getting that far, what we need to do is wait and see whether in winning the election, that the DLP will put some more teet to the law when it reaches the statue books. In reading through the document, I notice a lot of loose talk about it is expected that should an entry be incorrect or that any politician deliberately forgot to include information, he/she will be expected to resign. (Being the cynical s.o.b. that I am, what happens when that politician gives a lame excuse like an admin asst made the mistake and so it is not my fault) Personally I would expect that there be no grey areas and simply states ,in such an event that MP/minister will resign and will face prosecution. Now that would be something.
    Floyd, good job on your observations, except that I noticed that you seem to have forgotten first base in economic theory.
    The world has been able to stave off a recession simply by depressing the cost of labour wherever they can on a global scale. Do you think it is a mere accident that India and China are now major players in the production of commodities. Not a chance, the rise of these two titans of production has coincided with the threat in the USA and Europe that if you ask for pay rises equal to inflation, the business will be driven overseas. On top of this, to reinforce their point, is it by chance there are 12 million illegal longterm visitors in America or nearly 2 million such visitors in Britain.
    Have you not noticed that even on the microcosmic level in a place like Barbados we have more long term visitors than our resources of health, housing, education etc can cope with.
    On top of all this, the trade unions in Bim have been selling out the workers. Our journalists never cease to amaze me. OSA has been able to depress wages in Barbados in the private sector through the social partnership while every one of the major companies have made more money for their shareholders than ever before. You make the call. That is only part of the reason there has been no recession even with oil at $100 per barrel.
    I am sure that we do need folks like you to let the people know not to be taken in by the crap that comes out of the nation or advocate.
    Johnnietoobad.

  63. reality check

    “Since the BLP came to office it has systematically put pressure behind the scenes to silence many journalists who wanted to do serious work. The party used several tactics. I know what they are. I know the nasty politicians who did it. I also know the corrupt journalists that aided and abetted them. The end result is a level of journalism (for lack of a better term) that does not offend. Journalism in Barbados died under the BLP”

    Come on How Time Flies!

    There is no better way to stop wrongdoing than by exposing the wrondoers so they will think twice before abusing their position. Its called checks and balances,

    Start with naming names.

  64. Rumplestilskin

    As a point of order for this election, may I suggest that the DLP Manifesto is ‘IT’ for consideration as compared to the BLP ‘performance’ and that no one needs to wait for the BLP Manifesto, which, due to the long three-term administration held by the BLP, is now moot.

    With the three-term administration, we know the BLP priorities, we know their policies and their recent performance.

    Thus, any promises in a manifesto can only be taken in light of the existing and known policies of the administration, which we already know and can assess with hard evidence of the administration’s priorities, so why do we need a BLP Manifesto, just for election promises?

    Peace.

  65. Michelle

    Has anybody noticed the carrots being dangled in the last few days? Old age pensions gone up, reducing taxes on the middle class (after 13 years!) and now proposed integrity legislation by the BLP?!!! I think we having Xmas in January!

    Somebody seems to be on the back foot this time around. Loving It.

  66. Anonymous

    You might be wrong Michelle girl. Owen said he was not worried but I bet everybody can tell by his words and actions that that was not a true statement. Body language is giving it all away. Everybody hand is being revealed in this election. Tony Best is exposed, Ikael Tafari is exposed, Albert Brandford was exposed every since, Hal Gollop could no longer hide. It might have been unfortunately and prophetically dubbed as the mother of all elections. It really is appearing that way. The ruling party et al are fighting for their survival, I guess that is understandable.
    Barbados seems to be at a critical juncture. Only time will tell.

  67. Johnnie Too Bad

    Friends, we have it all out now, not only is the OSA Empire on the backfoot, but they are floundering in a sea of uncertainty. For once they have been caught believing their own hype.
    Once again the smart bajan rides off wth the prize. Making OSA AND HIS BAND OF ROBBERS believe that they can’t lose, now they not so sure, judging by the crowds following the DEMS, word has got around that many big-ups are going to be looking for work soon.It is about time, good riddance to the bad rubbish of OSA. Word on the grapevince is that two ministers have already cleared their desks and are travelling around with loads of documents in the boot of their cars.No prize for guessing which poorboy turn richman thinking ’bout leaving politics altogether for the cosy climes of Canada.
    Johnnietoobad.

  68. Johnnie Too Bad

    The nation, the nation. Why would you not expect a Trinidad owned paper to be supporting a party that has virtually killed manufacturing in Bim so as to fill the supermarket shelves with Trinidadian products? It figures, when we allow our Trinidad neighbours to buy everything in sight. Some of us have been warning about these things for the past 13 years. The nation has a lot to answer for and we should stop buying the rag. Lets have our own Bajan paper again.
    Johnnietoobad.

  69. Observing

    All of a sudden integrity bite Owen, David gets the jump on him and now he’s interested in doing something about it from a policy perspective?

    On cbc’s web site there is a large BLP ad flashing alternating with their election campaign ad. The only “non-CBC” related ad on the home page by the way. And nowhere on their site does CBC mention the availability or pricing of online advertising.

    Then there’s the BBC’s coverage of an interview with Taiwan’s ambassador reputing Arthur’s claim. This hasn’t been covered by CBC and i suspect not by the Nation either as far as I know ( http://www.barbadosvotes.org/media.asp).

    Our leader makes a so far unfounded and unproven accusation that Taiwan buys Caribbean countries and is funding the DLP (IMF Secret Deal anyone?)

    Now they’re telling me that in the mother of all elections, where leadership is THE MAJOR issue (BLP) and where a call has been made for four debates on key issues (DLP), and where one was scheduled to go but was postponed (last Friday), that there will be NO debates at all.

    You got to be freaking kidding me. Bajans ain’t stupid, as much as some in government would like to think or wish so.

  70. Hants

    BFP…Please forgive this “off topic”……

    http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gsJ1aRYkv4DAEi4bKB1vFtujr6Nw

    “Ontario Health Coalition urges review of P3 hospital in Brampton
    7 hours ago

    TORONTO – The Ontario Health Coalition has demanded a full investigation into the cost of the Brampton Civic Hospital, which was built through a public-private partnership.

    When the hospital opened in October, hospital and government officials said the so-called P3 hospital had opened on time and on budget.

    But the coalition, citing recently released government and hospital documents, says the project was actually two years late, $300 million over budget and had about 240 fewer beds than promised.

    Sounds familiar. $350 million became $650 million.

    The group wants a review of the P3 policy and a moratorium on all P3 hospitals.”

  71. Hants

    :A TAIWANESE diplomat based in St. Kitts has denied allegations made by the Prime Minister of Barbados that Taipei plans to fund the opposition campaign for the January 15 election. It is ridiculous, we dont know anything about this, it is groundless, counsellor Joseph Chang told BBC Caribbean yesterday.”

    Did our PM tell a lie on the Dems…..again?

  72. There is alot said here and I couldn’t read all, and I suppose this is the problem with these blogs, the forum topics die this sort of natural death.

    At a waste of more comment, because obviously the Dlp and the Blp dont see how blogging web-sites can change the tenor of debate.

    As bandwidth comes on line in Barbados it will be video-blogging and media streaming, radio stations, tv channels, podcasts, etc.

    But that is the future of the telecomunications industry, which is related to the issue of freedom of information.

    The point is this, integrity legislation, like so many things in a small island, really is a foreign affair, I mean how could little Barbados stand up to the Medellin or the rivals, how could little barbados stand up to Canadian imperial Bank of Commerce and Chase Manhattan, who really got the ball rolling with money laundering, and offshore banking.

    No man is an island. Barbados cannot exist in a cess pool of morality, on the international scene and expect to pass laws on the local scene that will work, necessarily. The laws will never be passed, i think we will take the lead of the developed world, and how they deal with corruption, which is essentially to sweep it under the carpet.

    I am more interested in how we sweep it under the carpet. I have very strong views on the issue of corruption and crime and intelligence (the two and third are inseperable) but it is a far more complex issue than you all give credit for if you are serious about taking power in a country. And i believe that is what politics is about the art and science of taking power. And its not nice, its a very ugly thing, its no romantic riding in on a white horse.

    *****************

    BFP says,

    I’m surprised at you Gary. I though you were a person of vision. We cannot continue to have the political elites rule us without any rules to govern or even assess their behaviour.

    Your argument against integrity legislation seems so unlike you.

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