“Being elected or hired into many government positions is a ticket to personal wealth in Barbados. The Prevention of Corruption Bill is supposed to change that, but it won’t.”
“Should elected or appointed government officials be allowed to do business with the government under any circumstances?”
Six Truths on a wet Kadooment Day…
1/ For as long as anyone can remember, elected and appointed Barbados government officials have doubled or better their day-job incomes by owning interests in companies doing business with the government. That’s why being elected or hired into many government positions is a ticket to personal wealth in Barbados. It’s just the way it is. The Prevention of Corruption Bill is supposed to change that, but it won’t.
2/ The proposed Prevention of Corruption Bill (2010) does not prohibit elected or appointed government officials or members of their immediate family from being awarded government contracts. Government officials and their immediate family members can still do business with the government.
3/ In order to commit an offence under the proposed law, it would have to be shown that an elected or appointed government official gave or received special consideration in the awarding of a contract AND that money or other benefit was either given or received. Therefore, it is still permissible under the proposed law for government officials to award a government contract to a company owned by a relative or by themselves.
4/ It is highly unlikely that the giver or receiver of a government contract would provide evidence against themselves. Government officials will continue to favour their own family companies in the awarding of contracts. Or maybe a government official will award a contract to the company of another government official, and three months later their own company will receive a government contract. Not a word will be spoken in public or private. Not a word will be necessary. No evidence of a violation will exist in a form that can be put before a court. Just ask Liz Thompson about the government contracts awarded to her husband! This proposed legislation will change nothing.
5/ If the proposed legislation prohibited government officials or their close family members from receiving government contracts, it would be a good start. There’s no way the politicians will enact that law!
6/ None of the above matters because, as Member of Parliament Dr. William Duguid said: Barbados politicians will NEVER pass integrity legislation in any form.
“Currently, many Barbadians are beginning to accept that corruption is a way of life. This being the case, Barbados is now on the brink of following the path of other countries where corruption begins to eat away at the fabric of the society. The Bill has gone to a select committee of the lower and the upper houses. We do know that select committees are often seen as the graveyard for many an unpalatable Bill. Barbados can only hope that, for its sake and that of its democracy, the Bill does not lie there forever in suspended animation.”
… from the Barbados Advocate editorial Addressing Corruption
With no regrets, we now take you back to our regularly scheduled drunk-up, wuk-up…