Introducing Barbados Prime Ministers Dennis Clarke and Walter Maloney
You heard that old joke where the parts of the body argue about who should be the boss? The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the workers at the SSA just proved the joke to be true.
Sanitation Service Authority employees struck in support of manager Stanton Alleyne, who was fired over corruption allegations. With no garbage being collected and even no bodies being buried for five days, the government caved in and gave Alleyne his job back.
NUPW officials Dennis Clarke and Walter Maloney (photo) are at this moment, arguably the most powerful men in Barbados. A few words from them and the whole country began to stink. Bajans couldn’t even dispose of their own garbage as NUPW workers blocked roads with sabotaged trucks – an illegal act for which no one will ever be held responsible.
In a country that depends so heavily upon tourism, the guys who remove the garbage have far more to do with the health of the economy than they get credit for. And we’re not just talking about their ability to shut things down – we’re talking about the important role that they play in making Barbados as desirable destination.
But the garbage strike and the firing and re-hiring of Stanton Alleyne are only side-shows in the national debate about our culture of corruption.
As A Nation, Bajans Are Learning How To Deal With Their Culture of Corruption
The Board of the Sanitation Service Authority terminated acting manager Stanton Alleyne five days ago after they received information about him accepting money from an SSA contractor in 1999. Under Barbados laws that promote a culture of corruption by public officials, there is no offense in Alleyne accepting a “gift” from anyone unless it can be shown to be a direct bribe for a specific outcome.
So although any fool can see that it was a corrupt act for Allenye to accept money from a contractor with whom the government does business – it might not have been an illegal act under our impotent laws.
The SSA Board may or may not have handled the situation as they would now – BUT GIVE THEM CREDIT… they at least had the courage and integrity to try and deal with this obvious corruption by Stanton Alleyne.
The SSA Board is just like the rest of us – finally we have decided that we will no longer tolerate this corrupt behaviour, but we lack the knowledge, experience and the legal tools and procedures to effectively deal with specific cases or the wider perspective.
Some of us don’t even realise what corruption is.
Every week, folks come to Barbados Free Press and comment that there is no problem with elected or appointed government officials receiving gifts from companies who have government contracts as long as the officials don’t do anything specific in return.
These people are either naive or involved in the corruption themselves. Either way, they are part of the problem that we face in trying to clear up this culture of “gifts” that does so much harm to the country and totally destroys respect for government.
Stanton Alleyne’s lawyers proclaimed that their client is “vindicated” by the recent settlement that sees him return to his job.
I don’t think so!
The NUPW has declared a “victory”.
We ask “Victory for whom?” Certainly not for the people of Barbados who continue to pay for the corruption and live in a society where government officials become rich at the taxpayers’ expense.
Alleyne may or may not eventually have to answer for his corrupt act of receiving money from a government contractor, but one thing is certain – these situations will be seen more frequently as Bajans finally decide they have had enough of corruption by people in the public service.
The Nation News: Back At SSA