Welcome to BFP’s 3,000th Article!
Barbados Free Press published our first article on January 17, 2006, and right away we let the world know where we stood on Integrity, Transparency and Accountability of elected and appointed public officials in Barbados.
In that article, Prime Minister Owen Arthur Opens a New Can of Paint – To Cover Old Corruption, we took the first shot across the bow of a corrupt BLP government led by then-PM Owen Arthur. The article also mentioned the controversy over the flyovers, a company called 3S Structural Steel Solutions LLC, of Maryland USA and said…
The last thing that Barbadians need is a “public relations programme” instead of an open accountability about where every dollar is spent.
Prime Minister Arthur is correct: the cartel must stop misusing their political offices and connections for “personal material gain.” Only time will tell if the Prime Minister is really serious about stopping the corruption, or whether, like a used car salesman, he really means “Give her a new coat of paint and some sucker will buy it.”
We followed up the very next day with an expose, Barbados Tender Process Corrupt? that told how the $120 million dollar flyover project had been awarded without being put out to tender. On our third day, January 19, 2006, we expressed our hopes and doubts about the newly appointed Leader of the Opposition, David Thompson. About David Thompson, BFP said…
“…will Mr. Thompson (whom this writer greatly respects) remain true to the principles he so ably espoused earlier that day? Will he be able to ignore the siren call of easy money that has corrupted so many in the current government?”
Barbados Blogs Hounded Prime Minister Arthur & Opposition Leader Thompson On Integrity Legislation For Two Years Leading Up To The 2008 Election
As our long term readers know, Barbados Free Press hounded Prime Minister Arthur and the BLP Government for two more years on integrity and competency issues.
At the same time we urged Mr. Thompson to break his silence on ITAL – Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation – and to declare that if elected his government would implement ITAL forthwith. We chided Thompson and the DLP to introduce Integrity Legislation while in Opposition to shame the government into action, but Thompson and his members remained silent until the last minute.
In the final weeks of the January 2008 election contest and with everything in the balance, David Thompson and the DLP finally came out in favour of ITAL. Although we were skeptical that Thompson’s last minute “cut and paste” declaration taken from an internet website was merely an election ploy, Barbados Free Press declared for the Thompson and the DLP.
After all, Thompson and the Democratic Labour Party promised in writing to implement ITAL within 100 days of forming a government, and to implement a Ministerial Code of Conduct immediately upon forming a government.
The rest of the election, as they say, is history.
Some people, perhaps many, believe that the island blogs were responsible for the DLP’s last minute Integrity Legislation promises and in fact, that without the island blogs and Thompson’s 100 day ITAL promise – the BLP may have succeeded in gaining an unprecedented fourth term.
Three and a half years later, Barbados still lacks Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation
So here we are in June, 2009 some three and a half years after Barbados Free Press published our first article (that was viewed by I think seven people on the first day). We are about to welcome our six millionth visitor. Thompson’s “implement a Ministerial Code of Conduct” promise was dead the minute he took office. His “ITAL in 100 days” promise is now overdue by almost a year and a half and anyone with half a brain can see that integrity is the furthest thing from the DLP Government’s concerns.
Most telling, it is still legal for Barbados Government Ministers, and elected and appointed government officials to receive gifts – even money – from companies that do business with the government. It is still legal for elected or appointed government officials to award government contracts to themselves or their immediate family.
The issue of gifts, contracts and conflicts of interest standards could easily be declared as policy by Prime Minister Thompson – as he promised to do immediately upon forming a government. Such a policy declaration does not require legislation or discussion, and it is exactly what David Thompson promised to do IMMEDIATELY upon becoming Prime Minister.
Why didn’t Thompson do as he promised in writing?
Die hard DLP supporters don’t want to face that issue. They are too busy enjoying the spoils of their election victory.