UPDATED: March 13, 2010
Folks, read what the Auditor General had to say last June and then ask yourself: Has anything changed since then? Has anyone been charged?
Original article as published June 9, 2009…
“There is general consensus that something has to be done. How we go forward from here, I am not too sure that we know how to go forward. But we concede that something has to be done. It just cannot keep going on like this all the time“
… Barbados Auditor General Leigh Trotman talks about zero accountability for corrupt and incompetent government officials in The Nation article Trio’s Call
Auditor General Leigh Trotman’s Unprecedented Media Statements Reveal His Disgust For Two Corrupt Barbados Governments
Barbados has a serious and deep-rooted problem with corruption that is eating away at the health of our society and polluting the thinking and behaviour of coming generations. Rather than fighting this trend, our leaders empower corrupt individuals through refusing to hold them accountable. In a culture of corruption where “sharing the fatted calf“ is the expected prize of an election victory, all parties are frightened to throw the first stone.
Both the current DLP Thompson administration and the past Arthur/Mottley government have done everything they can to shield corrupt and incompetent individuals in government from being held accountable. According to the current Auditor General’s report, government officials now have so little fear of the Auditor General that they often don’t bother to respond at all to official demands for documentation and records. (eg: Auditor General’s Report 2008, reference 3.157 page 79)
In his recent Nation News interview, Leigh Trotman says what he feels he can get away with and calls upon the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Public Accounts Committee and the Director of Finance to please do something! One can almost see the cricket bat in Mr. Trotman’s hand – such is his frustration at his own impotence to make a difference in this society.
Barbados Auditor General’s 2008 Report Another Exercise In Bashing His Head Against Concrete
The latest annual futility by the Barbados Auditor General is now posted on the official website, but as any Barbadian can tell you – aside from a flurry of newspaper articles and blog posts – there will not be any action taken to hold any individual responsible for wrongdoing or incompetence revealed in the report.
As usual the Auditor General’s Report is fodder for some name-calling in Parliament and some tongue-clucking in the press, but no person will be charged with any offense, no person will lose their job and no missing or overpaid funds will be recovered.
You can take those truths to the bank – and that’s exactly what many appointed and elected government officials do because not only is the likelihood of being caught very low, perpetrators are never NEVER held to account even if they are caught.
As a matter of fact, it is highly likely that no real investigation of the Auditor General’s revelations will be commenced or ordered commenced by any Barbados government authority – including the police, the Public Prosecutor, Public Accounts Committee or the Director of Finance. Certainly the Prime Minister will not order or request any real investigation or accountability for wrongdoing, incompetence or abuses – even by persons in the last BLP government.
Our Bajan Culture Of Non-Accountability
When Hurricane Ivan went by here in 2004, the home of Theophilus Barrow was destroyed. Judy Thomas, Director of Emergency Management Services, was responsible for managing a $4 million dollar emergency fund. Director Thomas paid money to contractors for rebuilding Mr. Barrow’s home without checking to see if it had actually been rebuilt or even at a minimum demanding a statement of completion with a photograph of the work done and a sign-off by the home owner.
Heck, she didn’t even call the owner of the home!
Nope, Director Thomas just paid out that money. FOUR YEARS LATER it finally came out that the money paid out for Mr. Barrow’s new home is missing. The home was never rebuilt, Ministry of Home Affairs had no clue, and Judy Thomas wouldn’t talk about it.
Oh, we had all kinds of government vows to hold someone accountable, but as usual those vows faded into nothing. Director Thomas came through without a scratch even though she obviously lacked even the basic level of competence to be the director of any government agency. Failing to account for money is taken most seriously in most western governments, but not in Barbados.
The story of Theophilus Barrow’s home is only one of many like happenings in Barbados, but the government officials who lose, fail to account for, or are otherwise careless with millions of dollars NEVER lose their positions. Never.
Go ahead – read this year’s Auditor General’s Report. Read them all. See the millions upon millions of wasted and unaccounted-for funds over the years and then know this: Not one person has ever been charged or dismissed as a result of the Auditor General’s revelations. Not one person.
Five or six people publicly dismissed from government service for incompetence or failing to account for funds and a few big-ups in jail for corruption would fundamentally change our society. People would actually start to believe that there was RULE OF LAW for all…
We will continue this article tomorrow with these thoughts…
Why Does Barbados Have A Culture Of Zero-Accountability?
How Our Culture Of Zero Accountability Is Damaging Our Economy