Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation”

Government of Barbados guarantees failure of Integrity Legislation by including Ordinary Citizens!

A DLP insider reveals how David Thompson and his gang intend to sabotage Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws by expanding the promised laws to include private citizens and corporations. This, of course, will throw a spanner into the works of any legislation. After if fails to pass due to public outcry, Thompson and his fellow piggies at the public trough will say, “Well, we tried our best.”

Writing in The Nation, Frank Da Silva says “Bring on integrity law“, but then slides in the big bombshell like it’s a positive, not what it truly is: the core strategy to kill ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation). Says Da Silva…

“All of this must of course include the implementation of the campaign promise for all ministers, selected public servants and others who are doing business with our Government, to ensure there is a declaration of assets to the Integrity Commission (to be established).”

And just to let us know that it’s not Mr. Da Silva’s ideas were reading, he lets us know that it’s Prime Minister David Thompson speaking…

“(I, Frank Da Silva) support our Prime Minister’s remarks at the last family gathering that the private sector must be included in this legislation.”

Citizens get it: David Thompson and the DLP Lied

In Opposition, David Thompson promised "immediate" conflicts of interest rules for Ministers. He lied.

In Opposition, David Thompson promised "immediate" conflicts of interest rules for Ministers. He lied.

Over two years ago David Thompson and the DLP were finally dragged kicking and screaming towards Integrity Legislation by an electorate that demanded a stop to the corruption and outright theft of public funds by politicians. Thompson and the party promised in writing to take some very specific integrity initiatives immediately upon election and then introduce other very specific initiatives, including legislation,  within 100 days of forming a government.

Some of these integrity initiatives, like a Ministerial Code that included conflict of interest standards, did not require legislation – only a declaration of government policy. For instance, Thompson promised to introduce conflict of interest standards that would prohibit Ministers from issuing government contracts to companies they owned themselves.

Thompson could have, and should have, announced the policy on his first day in office. What suckers we were!

It all seemed like a very good start and we almost believed Thompson until the end of his first month week in office when we realized that once again the political class had pulled one on the citizens who believed in them.

Face it folks, we believed David Thompson and the DLP, but we were lied to by the best.

This latest revelation tells you everything you need to know about Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information, Conflicts of Interest standards and the Ministerial Code. It is difficult enough to implement ITAL upon an unwilling class of political elites. Throwing in a requirement that the little contractor who wants a government contract has to list assets and open up to an audit is GUARANTEED to kill Integrity Legislation.

Thompson and the DLP know that. I dare say, so does Mr. Da Silva.

It’s all a set up folks. Nothing but a big set up so that when ITAL fails, the DLP can say they tried.

What foul LIARS the Prime Minister and his bunch are! They didn’t do what they promised in writing and now they deviously plan to screw the electorate again. The BLP Opposition can’t say a word because of everything that’s hanging over their own heads.

What a desperate mess we good citizens find ourselves in – but there is another way…

VOTE INDEPENDENT!

A Battle of Ordinary Citizens vs the Political Elites

Opposition dares not mention Integrity Legislation

Opposition dares not mention Integrity Legislation

Who are you going to vote for next time? Mottley? Thompson? Arthur? Marshall?

BLP? DLP?

The political elites are all the same. We need ordinary citizens to stand as candidates with integrity as their platform. We need to strategically vote to remove power from the Political Class that has been raping this country like it was their own piggy bank for the past 20 years.

Frankly, I’ll vote for a dead cat before I’ll ever empower the BLP or DLP again.

Further Reading

Living in Barbados, August 19, 2009: Freedom of Information – Basic Concerns and FOI Legislation

BFP, August 10, 2009: Barbados Government On Integrity Legislation: “Not until we’ve pigged out at the public trough for a few more years”

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

Here is the Nation article by Da Silva. Please go to the Nation to read it because they deserve your visit. We only include it here because both the Nation and the Barbados Advocate have a habit of revising history by trashing or changing archived articles…

GUEST COLUMN: Bring on integrity law

Published on: 10/16/2009.

BY FRANK DA SILVA

THE FOLLOWING is an excerpt from a column published on Friday, February 20, 2009, in the WEEKEND NATION. This excerpt is even more relevant today than it was at that time:
My political experience has told me that the best platform for good governance is one in which there is a strong and active opposition party. Our Government should take this as impetus to perform at the highest level of excellence on all fronts. And I believe they will.

The Government of Barbados must implement its campaign promise to restore integrity with full accountability, underpinned by transparency and ensure that there is a Freedom of Information Policy. And, it is my hope that these issues will be concretely addressed by the end of April and further, that our Government will rise to the occasion and make Barbados the No. 1 country in the world in relation to these desirable goals.

All of this must of course include the implementation of the campaign promise for all ministers, selected public servants and others who are doing business with our Government, to ensure there is a declaration of assets to the Integrity Commission (to be established). It is my strong belief that the Opposition party will fully support these efforts.

Active politics may be no Sunday school, but it is best driven when it is faith-based and when we are free from fear to speak our minds in the interest and love for our country Barbados.
I am growing increasingly concerned, and I sense this concern among many citizens of this country, that the irrevocable commitment to full integrity with accountability and transparency, supported by a Freedom of Information Act, has not yet been implemented. This irrevocable commitment by our party should be implemented as soon as possible. (I would strongly recommend before the end of our second year in office, January 15, 2010.)

Corruption thrives in two environments – the best of times and the worst of times.

I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of Independent Senator Orlando Marville and support our Prime Minister’s remarks at the last family gathering that the private sector must be included in this legislation. Our Cabinet in fulfilment of its collective responsibility should take the necessary steps to ensure that this is done.

If we were in the last two years in our last term in office (late 1991 to 1994), Orlando Marville would most likely have been appointed the head of a task force charged with responsibility of developing an action plan and once approved by Cabinet, he and his team would have implemented this and we would have a better Barbados to live in.

I think the time has come for love of country or for the love of the party of your choice that Barbadians must speak their minds openly. I am now calling on our Government to demonstrate, as it did before, its ability to implement, whether it is in integrity, the offshore financial industry, or whatever.

Time is not on our side and I call on citizens of all walks of life to let their voices be heard.

Getting back to the need for a strong Opposition, I am seriously considering sharing that advice in my column planned for next Friday and trust that the delegates to the Barbados Labour Party conference will pay fair attention to this.

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29 Comments

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

29 responses to “Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation”

  1. Arthur

    Roll over and take that, Bajans. What’s a little lie from the PM when there are Guyanese to kick out of your country?

  2. BFP

    Isn’t it the truth Arthur!

    “Look at the shiny object I have in my hand” says the master magician David Thompson. “Never mind all the other things that are happening, and whatever you do, don’t think about my other hand or your wallet.”

  3. Love

    BFP,

    I am often fascinated by your tenacity on this subject.

    But I have always held and will continue to hold the view, that the private sector / citizens must be part and parcel of any ITAL legislation.

    From where does members of boards, employees of departments/ministries drawn from : private citizens .

    Any government cannot set itself standards of Accountability and Transparency to the EXCLUSION of private sector/citizens.

    NEVER….!

    And truth be told……..you cannot force any group to accept any terms which they are not comfortable with…..of course you LEGISLATE without DEBATE………but be prepared for massve fall-out if such a path is chosen.

    It is not as easy as you think BFP.

    The DLP is on the correct path……encourage as much dialogue on the right model for Barbados as possible.

    Trinindad & Jamaica shows…….where it can go wrong if not discussed and implemented properly.

  4. BFP

    Love says, ITAL “Not as easy as you think”

    Perhaps you need another 20 years Mr. Prime Minister?

    Lets start with your promise to IMMEDIATELY declare a Ministerial code, shall we?

    Such BS we’ve had for years on this subject from the very people who stand the most to lose if it was implemented.

    Nobody buys what you’re selling anymore. Where’s your two years of public consultation? Oh… there was none. Gosh… that will take another couple of years then. Ho hum…

  5. Thompy Lied

    Thompy said he’d put a minister’s code in place immediately and he said it in writing. He said it would include conflict of interest rules for senior ministers.

    Thompy lied. He said he would make people accountable. Thompy lied. He said his government would be transparent. Thompy lied.

  6. Joker

    Love said The DLP is on the correct path……encourage as much dialogue on the right model for Barbados as possible.

    ROTFLMAO!

  7. Red Lake Lassie

    I’m happy that BFP has the tenacity of a bulldog on FOI and integrity legislation. Somebody has to keep it on the front burner because Arthur wouldn’t and neither will Thompson. We’ve heard that integrity legislation and FOI are too complex for about ten years from two different governments. Time for a new party.

    There was talk of the Green Party starting up in Barbados. If they picked up on ITAL and firmly committed their candidates to it from the start I think the Green Party could do no little damage in the coming election.

  8. art

    I am going to tell you something that you might all be thinking about thinking, but that you maybe have not as yet decided to articulate.

    All citizens must support the call for the imlementation of Integrity, whistleblower, freedom of information, transparency laws: amended and legislated correctly- now or sooner for the following reasons:

    1) We are moving into a time when we will be managing our own judicial system
    This is a good thing for us in the Caribbean, but in Barbados one must be mindful that forces will be brought to bear upon our system, and that our judges are not insulated from our small society.
    If this is the case then we must be certain that every possible method for protection of our rights and democraciy is put in place. If a judge or lawyer or business person is tainted there must be appropriate laws to allow such information to be brought to light; and then to let “crimestoppers” do these people accordingly. Wheteher they be drug lords, judges, laypeople, bankers, lawyers or business owners. Whatever the privy council thinks or says, we are no longer going to be appealing to them as neutral, and we are scared that ourn local/regional processes could be corrupted.

    We must be mindful that a corrupt judicial could play a large role in tyranny of our masses, and it must be monitored in every way, from every angle.

    Barbados Freepress seems quite disollutioned with our party politics in general after following these blogs in the past 2-3 years. Yet the promotion of this legislation is put in such a way as to discourage voters from reconsidering the BLP and to promote a third party. This will never happen, will it? If it did I suppose any third party is better than the NDP, who talk like the lunatics on some of the blogs.

    2) We are hearing that a 46 Million dollar building is being started at Sherbourne (just one silly example) and we do not understand how that process became implemented.
    Have we missed the advertised tenders for the schools and the projects that smiling ministers are breaking ground on on the front pages- the tenders that are supposed to be clearly advertised in the national gazettes?

    Is this not something that we are all thinking, or is this totally off base?

    No one is saying it.

    Have I missed the recently started projects tendered? Is the above incorrect? Please help me? Hants speak to me please with some facts about the tendering processes. Could this be wrong? Could this be right?

    So help in understanding these things. If I am wrong I wish to admit it and to apologise. It is only good to hear the truth, and the truth is what I would like to hear, especially when I am obviously incorrect. So please set me free re the above. I am less than informed.

    Thank you.

  9. Clearly Bajan

    @ BFP (and its big fans)

    I hate to say I told you so….. but I remember the DAY that BFP put their faith behind the DLP and I was upset (and stopped reading for many many months.

    I thought at that time that BFP was impactful enough to be influencial without being partisan. (I was ridiculed for that opinion but I still maintain it.)

    Power is a corruptor. And unless there is a direct benefit to the PM he will not encourage the legislation if it cuts into his present kick backs.

    He is only human. We musn’t put too much faith in his promises.

  10. BFP

    Clearly Bajan,

    You forget what we said at the time: We expressed doubts that Thompson was sincere and we said so, but we said we would trust him.

    We also said that if he was lying we would never let the people forget.

    He lied.

    Now we are calling for a new political movement in Barbados – built upon integrity first. You should remember that many folks think that the blogs tipped the scale in defeating the BLP. The people of Barbados may lack access to the truth because the media hides it, but they aren’t stupid. The talk for years has been a new party needed. Frankly, we see the Green Party as a viable force in Barbados – but only if they codify and enforce integrity standards for their candidates.

    Is your solution to put the same BLP crooks back in place? That’s no solution at all. Barbados needs a new political party, but until that time comes we at BFP encourage all to vote for any independent candidate at all – to disenfranchise the two parties of the political elites. As Clive says, “I’d vote for a dead cat before I’d give my vote to the DLP or BLP. They are the same.”

  11. Love

    ITAL is coming……….despite what BFP says !

    The Private sector must be very nuch a part of the process.

    BFP..is wasting it’s pretending that they do not understand PM Thompson reasoning on this one.

    But BFP and their fan base trying o flog a dead horse on this one.

  12. Hants

    ITAL has to include the private sector because the conglomerates in Barbados have monopolies and some get huge government contracts.

    Be patient BFP.

  13. art

    Time for patience done.

    Can someone please provide the rationale for building a negotiasted contract multi-storey, multimillion dollar carpark at Sherbourne (with office) and the ROR for the 46M when it costs $500 per squ foot plus loan interest?

    Can someone please explain how long it will take for this example of a recent government negotiated contract expense to pay us back?

    Was this another negotiated contract away from the light of day? Like the ABC expansion? Someone please say that I’m wrong about this.

  14. art

    Here’s something to reflect upon: How to clean up Barbados? Canadians are years ahead of us in this legislation.

    On the other hand we cannot even rely on our Caribbean Court of Justice- because we have no laws for the court to be held accountable to. So why even mention witness protection as they do in the article linked?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/top-court-weighs-fate-of-whistleblowers/article1332253/

    “A confidential press source who was instrumental in exposing the Quebec sponsorship scandal may be the last such hero if the courts fail to protect her anonymity, the Supreme Court of Canada was told this morning.

    Globe and Mail lawyer William Brock said that the source – identified only as MaChouette – did the country a major service by providing journalist Daniel Leblanc with information showing the federal funds were being misused to influence a Quebec referendum on sovereignty.

    “Today’s decision will determine not just MaChouette’s reward for her service to the country, but whether there will be future MaChouettes in this country,” Mr. Brock said.

  15. art

    Second comment in moderation. Do please release?

  16. BFP

    Hello Hants,

    Nonsense old friend. ITAL has at its core the government personnel who control the contracts and are in positions of trust. The move to include everybody who does business with the government is designed to throttle the whole effort.

    Take Canada for instance where you live. Are you saying that the conflict of interest laws and asset disclosure rules for government are also applied to the private sector who deal with government? Show me.

  17. Hants

    Take Canada for instance where you live. Are you saying that the conflict of interest laws and asset disclosure rules for government are also applied to the private sector who deal with government?

    http://www.contractscanada.gc.ca/en/faq-e.htm#5

  18. Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    There is a difference between what is required of the private sector when it is dealing with the public sector/government, and that should be part of what we call ITAL. However, there are different codes of conduct that go to integrity in private sector activities pure and simple, much should already be in law to cover things like fraud, theft, bribery (ie crimes). But some needs to be in regulations etc that cover different sectors, eg in banking–duty of care, know your customer, concentrated/connected lending restrictions, etc. Others need to be part of the ‘ethics’ of the society, eg how one deals with connected/related parties to avoid claims of nepotism/favouritism.

  19. BFP

    Hi Hants,

    Nothing about family members that I can see. Certainly no disclosure of assets!

  20. art

    Dear Hants

    I sorry but don’t understand that link.

    There are lists of tenders from Government du Canada (MERX) that must be bid upon. There are also ways to supply bids, at your lowest and best prices, to try to win a contract to supply goods for contracts that range between $5k and $25k. It seems to be a ‘how to’ for discovering available contracts in Canada via the electronic media.

    But it is not the complete answer. Please would you do the kindness to qualify the link and move closer to the related parties areas referred to in the site?

    No one has rebuked about the $46M Sherbourne contract, so I conclude that either
    1) No one reads what I’m writing, or
    2) It is true, or
    3) I’m too dumb to warrant a response.

    Did we give a $46M contract from a government website, without advertising it in the papers? Will someone, anyone, please offer an answer re the $46M contract? I feel that I must be just too dumb to write on these blogs.

    New hospital

    Was it Minister Inniss who claimed a new hospital could never cost more than $350M? Imagine if we did go to contract via the “consultant” without making an advertised tender available. Imagine if we did have cost over-runs to MOUs, etc, etc.

    Will it cost $350M? How much do you think it will cost?

    Can Treasury of Barbados afford to spend more than it needs to in order to have our new hospital built?

    Of course we very much need the new hospital and should have made it priority before now, but we simultaneously do very much require a transparent, fair contract price, and were owed it in 100 days or less.

    Not with the justified or unjustified fear of ‘twice as nice at double price’. We just can’t afford.

    I sorry that I so foolish, but please, if someone could please just show how to prove this is all wrong?

  21. Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    @art, could you give more information about the $46 m contract for those who are not as well versed in its details? Perhaps the elements of the correct tendering process as you understand them, indicating which steps were not followed. You mention a point about no newspaper advertising as if that were obligatory? Is it?

    On the$350 m or whatever the real cost of a new hospital will be. My understanding from the little I read yesterday is that the planning is at very early stages. I do not know if there is an expert out there who can guess at what an unplanned hospital may cost to build.

  22. art

    Dear Dennis
    It suddenly came over the CBC news that the Sherbourne addition was starting. That’s the way I received it. Lots of artists were incensed and shocked.
    Also, the new village and school at St David, the same thing.
    So my personal impression is that there isn’t much distance between the conceptulisation and the implementation. I am not an expert, but seeking one on this medium. Maybe you can help?

    Is there someone reading this, someone to inform that this perception is incorrect?

    No one has yet come forward, so now, hearing about how urgent it is to build a hospital, instinct is to ask why it is urgent, more urgent than when it was being budgeted at $600M before recent elections and the then opposition said it was a well-studied $300M.

    Approximately 25M was recently thought as totally inadequate in a recent QEH hospital upgrade, by a friend who is a doctor. I heard that it did almost nothing. And we need a new one. That much I am sure about.

    I keep asking for someone, anyone, to please tell how my knowledge of these contracts is wrong because I would like to apologise, but no one does. Please tell me that this is wrong and that it was an open area to all qualified builders available for the contract in Barbados. I am but searching for information to allay my instinct and impression that it I am wrong. Again I am not an expert.

    Am I wrong? If so I will apologise.

  23. Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    @art, I’d say draw a distinction between media reporting and conceptualisation by government (or businesses). We know that most of the journalists are not doing much research on their stories (see other recent blog posts). Dig a little via various Ministries and House of Assembly, and see what that unearths. You should be able to pull together a clear story on what tender processes are supposed to be and what has taken place. Some of the figures should also available in the Budget. If you search and do not find, then you have something to work with.

    Yes, it seems that you have to do a bit of leg work but that’s par for concerned citizens, and we should not expect our particular concerns to be high on anyone else’s radar screen.

  24. art

    Dennis
    It would be totally irresponsible to take this line any further. Interesting story in today’s Nation re Minister Inniss and the QEH.

    As you clarified from your economist background recently we are undergoing an increasing debt domestically. As a concerned citizen one would have to regret seeing the VAT go up to 17% next year.

    Thanks for the advice, taken and used.

    Deferred until the truths come.

  25. Hants

    Why do we have to be guessing at what a Hospital would cost.
    The process has been repeated a kazillion times around the english speaking world.
    Need assesment,planning and analysis,estimates for refurbishing,renovating or building new etc.etc.

    There are competent Architects, Engineers and quantity surveyors in Barbados.

    There are competent Doctors,specialists and surgeons in Barbados.

    Barbados needs a better hospital. Whether the best solution is to renovate the QEH or build a brand new hospital is up to the experts who will give their best advice to Government.

  26. Hants

    moderation again

  27. Clearly Bajan

    @ BFP – Was travelling & I’m now getting around to replying. (sorry) but yeah I agree with you that blogging was GREAT for the last election. And no, the BLP for another term was not the solution. BUT we’ll have to agree to disagree about the blog-partisan bit.

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