Barbados Government On Integrity Legislation: “Not until we’ve pigged out at the public trough for a few more years”

We Told You So…

david-thompson-piggy-smlAt the last moment in the 2007 election campaign, David Thompson and the DLP were dragged kicking and screaming into announcing they would introduce Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws within 100 days of taking office in January, 2008 – and also “immediately” declare a Ministerial Code with conflict of interest rules.

We had our doubts – especially when it appeared that Thompson’s commitment included doing some last minute cut and pasting off the internet for his then-proposed legislation – but Thompson and the DLP gave the promise in writing. Like many citizens we took him at his word, held our noses and voted.

What suckers we were. Thompson took office and did not “immediately” declare a Ministerial Code as he had promised to do, and the 100 days came and went without ITAL.

In June of 2008, the DLP Thompson government announced that the promised Integrity, Transparency and Accountability laws (ITAL) would be in final draft form by the end of 2008. (BFP June 25, 2008 article here)

That was over a year ago and now we are being told that the draft legislation won’t see Parliament until 2010.

In today’s Advocate, Senator Orlando Marville explains the process of Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation to us poor dumb citizens. It’s all very complex, you see. Takes a lot of time, you see. After the draft legislation goes to Parliament for a first look, then the legislation will have to be sent back for “corrections”, then back to “the drafter” then “back to Cabinet” who “would take some time to examine the document.” (Barbados Advocate: Drafts Complete)

Yup… and that will no doubt bring us heading into 2011 and the next election campaign. Maybe. If we’re lucky.

Thompson Didn’t Even Keep The Simplest and Easiest Of His ITAL Promises: An Immediate Code of Conduct Policy Announcement

Meanwhile, the piggies of the DLP Thompson Government continue to operate without the Code of Conduct that David Thompson promised would be declared IMMEDIATELY upon taking office in January of 2008. That code of conduct would have prevented, for instance, a government official from issuing government contracts to a company owned by the government official or a close family member. David Thompson and the DLP promised that IN WRITING during the campaign.

David Thompson lied. You see, once the DLP had the power of government and the cheque book in their hands, that was the end of making that simple policy declaration that Thompson promised.

Friends, we’re not talking about the Integrity Legislation or FOI law that he promised in 100 days. Nope… we’re talking about a simple policy change that Thompson promised to make on day one. No legislation required, just a simple government policy order – but Thompson didn’t do it because his Cabinet and his party rebelled when he brought it up. So much for leadership. So much for a real commitment to integrity by the Democratic Labour Party.

Have no doubts, folks. The sharing of the fatted calf will continue right up to the next election so Thompson and the DLP can continue to feed at the public trough without worrying about integrity laws. Then, at the last moment, the DLP may try to pass some weak integrity and FOI legislation with holes so big that a cruise ship with Mia Mottley on deck could slide through.

My fellow citizens: this latest Barbados Advocate article is the same song and dance that was published in the papers in June of 2008 with Thompson broke his “100 days” promise. The lies mean nothing anymore.

Senator Marville: If, as you say, the draft Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws are ready, release them publicly so citizens can have the time to carefully study the legislation.

You see, we citizens don’t trust the politicians. We believe the law will be carefully crafted for the benefit of the politicians, not for the good of Barbados.

Further Reading

December 29, 2008: Thanks To Prime Minister David Thompson, Barbados Government Officials Can Still Use Their Office For Personal Profit

September 19, 2008: Conversations About Integrity And The Current DLP Piggies In Government

July 19, 2008: Ho Hum – Another ‘Special Forensic Audit’ To Nowhere In Barbados

June 25, 2008: UPDATED: Barbados Government Says Integrity, Freedom Of Information and Defamation Laws In A Year Or So – Or Maybe Two Years

Barbados Advocate article August 10, 2009

Drafts complete

8/10/2009

Laws expected to go to Parliament next year

By Nicholas Cox

THE drafts of several new pieces of legislation aimed at improving transparency and accountability in Barbados, including integrity legislation, have been completed and sent to Cabinet.

This was revealed by Chairman of the Advisory Board on Governance, Senator Orlando Marville, who heads the department charged with preparing the highly-anticipated legislation promised by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration during the last election.

In a telephone interview with the Barbados Advocate recently, Marville said that most of the proposed legislation had been submitted to Cabinet one month ago. This included drafts of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, integrity legislation, and legislation related to term limits and the establishment of a Contractor General to examine the issuance of Government contracts.

Addressing concerns about the commitment of Government in following through on campaign pledges made in the January 2008 election, Marville said from his perspective, it remains, as he had not received an indication otherwise. “As far as I am aware there’s still the commitment, I don’t see any difficulty,” he said. Noting that he had no control over when the legislation would in fact make it to Parliament, the Senator said, “I anticipate that it will be done, and I anticipate that it will be done sometime next year.”

Outlining the process that would ultimately result in the legislation being taking to Parliament, he said, “Whenever it comes back out we’ll take it to the road, we’ll make the corrections, send it to the drafter, and whatever comes back goes back to Cabinet.”

However, given the “massive” size of the integrity legislation it was expected that Cabinet would take some time to examine the document, he said.

Marville explained that most of the fundamental work of the Advisory Board would be finished in the next couple of months, with only one major piece of proposed legislation remaining to be completed, legislation related to the office of the Ombudsman. Moreover, he hoped that the work of the department in this regard would be finished within two years of the current Government taking office – January 2010.

The integrity legislation is expected to include a Code of Conduct for Ministers. Meanwhile, the legislation related to the Ombudsman will support the FOI laws, as the Ombudsman would double as Chief Information Officer.

In a previous interview, Marville explained that the post would have the independence of the Auditor General and the authority of a judge and would be able to enforce the release of requested information.

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

8 responses to “Barbados Government On Integrity Legislation: “Not until we’ve pigged out at the public trough for a few more years”

  1. cq8

    ” holes so big that a cruise ship with Mia Mottley on deck could slide through.”

    Nice, BFP. Very nice!

  2. 2009

    Well BFP…..I am sure you are heartened to hear that important pieces of legislation regarding ITAL will be debated in Parliament by 2010 !

    Phew !!

    Exactly 2 years into office of a committed DLP Government…!

    A Pity !!

    Nearly 15 years Arthurism ( Bajan for TIEFFING ) and no Discussion or Enaction of such Legislation !

  3. missing home

    Free press, do you think the gov’ment announcement had anything to do with your USA Today article?

    USA Today Picks Up On Barbados Free Press Corruption Article – Hit Meter Goes Wild!

    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/usa-today-picks-up-on-barbados-free-press-corruption-article-hit-meter-goes-wild/

  4. Chicago

    That legislation will never see the light of day. I’ll give 80/20 odds that it will never be passed before the next election. Why should Thompy pass it? It would only cramp his style!

  5. ESSO

    Chicago, what’s your style man?

  6. ESSO

    BFP, why your mind so simple though?

  7. izzme

    Integrity legislation? Don’t be silly. Never anything that would affect a Government. I just heard but I ain’t able to say if it is true, that a former partner who did the Clico audit work get appointed to the Government committee that going to oversee the Clico affairs. Now if that ain’t a conflict of interest I can say what is. I don’t know about these things but I would imagine that if the person belong to a professional body that body would object or have some rules about that too.

  8. Pingback: Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation” « Barbados Free Press