“Nice little field you have here. Too bad you’ll never receive development permission. Maybe we can help…”
Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010: Will it pass before the election?
We all know how it works on this little rock. It is not the land that is valuable – it is the approval for developing the land that turns scrub into gold. The little farmer or widow owning land and paying taxes for decades will never get approval for development, so a couple of heavies visit the nothing little citizen and explain the rules ’bout hey.
“You’ll never get approval, but if you sell to us for a fraction of what the land would be worth with approvals, we’ll give you a little extra and you’ll have retirement money. You can continue to live in your little home for a dollar a year until the Lord calls you.”
So the land owner sells under duress and a few weeks later a major developer is given approvals for that same piece of land. Approvals denied for twenty years until some of the elites decided they could profit from it. “Hey… thanks for paying taxes and holding our land for us for twenty years… sucker!”
Land approvals are one of the big reasons why so many Bajan politicians enter politics with holes in their shoes and leave driving BMWs. As we said before, think about how much wealth it takes to donate US$150,000 in after-tax dollars to a cricket charity.
When former Prime Minister David Thompson accused Owen Arthur of enriching himself by misusing his public office and showed that Arthur slipped $75,000 in “political donations” into his personal bank account, Thompson was accusing all – not just Owen Arthur. David Thompson even confirmed in a public speech that BLP government officials stashed millions in foreign bank accounts.
Now we have Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite talking that Barbados civil service is so free of corruption. Brathwaite sounds like Owen Arthur did a few years back when he said that Barbados didn’t need integrity legislation because Bajan politicians are honest.
But the the truth sneaks out at the end of today’s Barbados Advocate editorial (DLP promotion advertisement) where Brathwaite promises “where persons were prevented from building in certain areas only to hear that a “new purchaser” was allowed to develop the land, this will also be a thing of the past.”
Our thanks to Minister Brathwaite for his candour.
The Prevention of Corruption Bill is slowly making its way through the legislative process, but at this late date we’re far removed from the April 2008 deadline that the DLP promised us during their 2007 election campaign. Will the new law be passed before the election call? I wouldn’t bet on it and neither would Member of Parliament Dr. William Duguid who has stated quite clearly in the past that Bajan politicians will never pass the integrity legislation.
Here at BFP, we’re watching the process but we’re not holding our breath.
Here is the Barbados Advocate editorial. We encourage everyone to visit the Barbados Advocate website to read the editorial because that’s only fair. Unfortunately because the Barbados Advocate makes a habit of erasing history, we have to print the entire editorial…
Public service free of corruption
ATTORNEY General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite says Barbados’ public service has always been based on the principles of efficiency and transparency, with adequate training of personnel, promotions, merit and remuneration on par with many of the developed countries. Given the above, Barbados has been able to develop a public service which is for the most part free of corruption.
As such he recently stated, the country has not had to make too many changes to accommodate recommendations as outlined in the United Nations’ Convention Against Corruption and by extension the Prevention of Corruption Bill 2010 recently debated in the House of Assembly, which also makes provision for the implementation of other Conventions already signed onto, such as the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. “So in this regard, when we look at the Conventions, we recognise that the recommendations that were being made with regards to the public sector, mean that we did not have to address them, because we already had the institutional framework for our public sector,” the AG recently commented.
The AG also noted that certain recommendations have also been outlined for the private sector, which the Prevention of Corruption Bill 2010 will address, in keeping with the treatment of the private sector, as outlined in the UN Convention Against Corruption. “The private sector of Barbados employs more individuals than the public sector and in fact, they are the largest consumers of government services. Therefore, any democracy like ours must also ensure that opportunities for corruption within the private sector are addressed,” the AG commented. He however asserted that there are certain “checks and balances” in place to ensure corruption is kept to a minimum. For example, companies in Barbados are required to have an audit of their assets above a certain threshold and this, he said, “automatically gives one a sense of comfort”. In the private sector, companies are also required to file tax returns even if these show that they did not make any money, the AG said, and with respect to international business companies, there is an annual filing requirement in terms of obtaining a license, and one can have a look to see whether or not the private entity is being used for purposes that are less than desirable.
He also noted that where there was mistrust, in terms of passing information through some institutions such as banks for fear that this information will be used elsewhere, this will also be addressed and where persons were prevented from building in certain areas only to hear that a “new purchaser” was allowed to develop the land, this will also be a thing of the past. The aim will be to have greater accountability and transparency, he said. (RSM)