Integrity Legislation has no chance and Adriel Brathwaite knows it!
The Bajan news media isn’t carrying the real story. The Nation and the rest are repeating the government line like they rely upon the government advertising to survive…
Oh… wait… The mainstream Bajan news outlets do rely upon government advertising to survive! Do you think that impacts their editorial decisions? We think it does and that any citizen can see that our news media isn’t giving us the truth. Here at BFP we say that the Bajan news media sold their souls a long time ago and consequently the public is fed a version of the news that is less than citizens deserve.
Attorney General Adrel Brathwaite says:
“Legislatively, we have the anti-corruption legislation which is before a joint committee of Parliament. We had promised that we would have that done before the end of the year. It’s my hope that we can get it within a month or two.”
… from the Nation article AG spells out crime plans
Listen, Brathwaite: that’s a lie. Your government said they would put forth the anti-corruption legislation four years ago – within 100 days of being elected.
So your statement is a big fat lie. Liar.
Now let’s talk about what happens even if your government passes the integrity legislation in the next few months: It will never be proclaimed as law before the next election because it will die in the Senate. You know this, you liar. You know this legislation will never become law. You also know the Freedom of Information legislation that you promised is rotting in its grave. The conflict of interest rules and Code of Conduct that the DLP promised to implement from day one were the first two promises to die.
Integrity Legislation is four years and more past due. It is dead, dead, dead.
Here’s what Brathwaite told the Nation. Please read it at their website, but we have to reprint the whole thing here because the paper has a history of deleting articles to change history. Too bad…
AG spells out crime plans
A drug court is on the cards and anti-corruption legislation may be agreed in a month or two. Just as important, says Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, the Government is moving on legislation to boost the offshore international sector which has been hit by competition from Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas.
He also dealt with crime, the Police Force and complaints against lawyers in an interview with THE NATION’s North American Correspondent Tony Best in New York last week.
What are some of the things you want to get done before the next election?
Brathwaite: Legislatively, we have the anti-corruption legislation which is before a joint committee of Parliament. We had promised that we would have that done before the end of the year. It’s my hope that we can get it within a month or two.
In the international business sector, there are certain pieces of legislation – private trust company legislation, an amendment to the trustee act, an amendment to the mutual fund legislation. It is my hope we can have those done within the next couple of months.
There is the foundation legislation which is far advanced. Within the Ministry of Agriculture, we are trying to get the ministry to let us have its comments on the petty larceny legislation. I am anxious to have that done. We are looking . . . to modernize the process.
What about your own ministry?
Brathwaite: We have plans of [building] a police station at Worthing to amalgamate the Worthing and Hastings stations. That should go out to tender soon and it is our hope to start that in October. I have been chasing the Ministry of Housing and Lands so we can acquire land at Six Roads. We want to do a complex at Six Roads.
In the Ministry of Home Affairs, we are looking at introducing a parole system on a phased basis. I have taken a paper on that to Cabinet and the Cabinet has approved it.
We are looking at having a drug court in Barbados and I am enthusiastic about that because we are seeing lots of our young people going to prison because of drug offences or drug habits. What we need to do is to cure them instead of just incarcerating them.
The hold-up is that we are now doing an in-depth study which would determine the level of drug use there is. We have a pretty fair idea but we must have a scientific approach to it.
The National Task Force On Crime Prevention is going to do that study for us. It has 60 days to get that study to us. It’s not a question of whether or not we will do a drug court; it’s a question of when we will do it and the format. The research will give us the necessary data to take that forward.
On the drug court, is the emphasis going to be on punishment, rehabilitation or a mix of both?
Brathwaite: The type of model we will come up with depends on what the research indicates. The Ontario model requires an offender to plead guilty and if he successfully completes the [rehab] programme, then (a) incarceration doesn’t follow and (b) he may even have a drug offence written off his criminal record.
It wouldn’t be a matter of one or the other. Usually it would be for non-violent offences. Basically, it may be a case in which a drug habit has brought a chap before the court.
If a guy is involved in kidnapping, murder or armed robbery, that’s not the kind of guy that we’re looking at. Actually, we have to formulate that aspect of it. The important thing is that it would be for the use and abuse of drugs that would have brought him to the criminal justice system.
What’s the timetable for the drug court?
Brathwaite: To be on the safe side, I would give it four to six months to have it up and running after the legislation has been enacted. We are actually in dialogue with all of the actors required – the psychologists, psychiatrists, Verdun House [and so on]. It is a holistic approach. The judge, defence attorney, the police, prosecutor and offender are involved.
How will it work?
Brathwaite: We don’t need to set up a physical court. It will be a matter of the operationalization of a court within the court system. For quite some time we have had a juvenile court which meets every Thursday. It now meets at Roebuck Street. A day is set aside; it is a similar concept.
Research will help us determine if we need a day or days [for] court sitting. We don’t need a separate court. There will be some additional costs.
Is Dodds becoming overcrowded with inmates. Is it flooded with people convicted of drug offences?
Brathwaite: We probably have a maximum capacity at Dodds of about 1 400. Now we may be close to 1 200 inmates. Those aren’t exact figures.
Are you asking if too many of our young people are coming into contact with the criminal justice system? The answer is yes. That’s why we are doing a lot of work on the side so that young people can see life without drugs, including alcohol.
What about legislation dealing with rehabilitation?
Brathwaite: I have the rehabilitation of offenders legislation in my bag, looking at it to see what reforms we can [make] to quicken the process.
The truth is that if someone is caught as a teenager with a joint or two – five or ten years later that should not be a reason for an employer not to offer him or her a job.
Unfortunately, when people ask for a police record of your character and they see that you have a criminal record, they don’t look any further. It is an area that we need to address.
Dr Eddie Green, the United Nations Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, has urged Barbados to follow Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia and take steps to eliminate buggery from its statute books because the existing law seems to be discriminatory. Do you agree with him?
Brathwaite: In order for you to be charged and convicted for buggery, someone must complain to the police that he has been buggered. It’s no different from assault.
Someone must complain to the police that “John Brown” buggered him and is willing to give evidence of the act.
So I don’t understand how that can be discriminatory. I can’t pre-empt what we will do as a Parliament but I can only say we have not had a buggery discussion as yet.
Given the level of crime in Barbados, is there a need to expand the Police Force?
Brathwaite: I don’t believe we have a full complement [of officers] right now. I will say that given our lack of resources as a country in terms of physical infrastructure [and so on], we can mostly say how pleased we are with the performance of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
The US may say our response time may not be as quick as others are in the US, but they will not say there is an issue with crime, in terms of professionalism.
How about complaints by the US that police officers physically abuse suspects in order to extract confessions? Is that true?
Brathwaite: There is nothing new about such complaints. But what we are trying to do, hopefully, is to introduce videotaped confessions. We are working towards that. The problem is that we only have the facility at a couple of police stations.
What we are trying to do is to see if we can agree to start it with respect to certain offences like murder, manslaughter, robberies and so on. Let’s s tart with them as opposed to trying to do it with all interviews.
We have referred that matter to the chief parliamentary counsel to see if we can have partial implementation of the process. It’s a big issue to have the equipment and a separate room.
Barbados was recently downgraded by the United States State Department and placed on the “watchlist of countries” because it had failed to move aggressively on human trafficking. Was it justified?
Brathwaite: We have established a committee and I am the chair of it.
The objective of the task force is to ensure that we have a coordinated approach if ever a victim of human trafficking is identified.
The Ministers of Housing, Education, Foreign Affairs, Family and Youth are all involved and they understand their respective roles. I stayed on as chairman because we as a Government want to send a signal to Barbados and the international community that we take the issue of human trafficking quite seriously.
We looked at the US report and there are some things that need to be done and we are doing them. They may say, ‘We hear what you are saying but you aren’t prosecuting anyone for human trafficking’. But we ask, ‘Do you just want us to go and prosecute someone so you can say that we are prosecuting people, or do you want us to prosecute someone where there is evidence?’
You just can’t pick up someone and prosecute so that you can say to your international partners that you are doing something.
Life has certainly changed in Barbados over the years. Are you happy with those changes?
Brathwaite: It saddens me that I can no longer go home like I used to and [leave] the door open. It saddens me that I have burglar bars in certain parts of my home. Not that we can turn back the clock, but we can certainly stop what is happening in terms of the negative things that are occurring.
We have had deportees returning home from abroad. Are they causing a crime problem?
Brathwaite: There is no evidence to suggest that deportees are a problem or that there is an upsurge in crime because of deportees. I will say that one of the things we need to address is how we integrate, not reintegrate, deportees into Barbados.
It is scandalous that you have a situation in which a guy may have lived in the US for 40 out of his 42 years and you deport him to Barbados, where he only lived for two years, because he has committed a crime in, say, New York. He was socialized up here (the US) and you deport him because he was born in Barbados. That is our biggest challenge.
Is crime a major issue for you and other Caribbean attorneys general and ministers of home affairs?
Brathwaite: Crime is normally on the agenda for the ministers in the Caribbean when we meet because we all experience it in terms of guns, gangs, marijuana [and so on] but gun in particular.
We are seeing gun-related crimes all across the Caribbean. We don’t manufacture guns, yet they are killing our young men. Guns are wreaking havoc in the Caribbean.
The Alexandra School Commission of Inquiry is proceeding. As Attorney General, what do you expect to come out of it?
Brathwaite: I don’t want to appear to be biased. The Prime Minister of Barbados made a decision that the correct thing was for us to have a commission of inquiry. For me to say what I expect to come out of it is to prejudge the proceedings so I will not comment on it.
We have had many commissions of inquiry over the years. The final reports come in and then we hear nothing more. What would make the Alexandra School situation any different?
Brathwaite: The commission goes beyond the lessons learned at Alexandra. It’s also an examination of the [Education] Act, otherwise it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. We should all, as a country, be better off in terms of principals, boards, the Ministry [of Education] looking at the legislation.
The mandate of the commission isn’t simply to look at Alexandra itself but at the whole atmosphere in which the school has been operating.
Barbadians in North America, London and at home frequently complain about the failure of attorneys to act expeditiously on matters for which they have been retained. Are you concerned about it?
Brathwaite: I received a complaint a few weeks ago about a Queen’s Counsel at home and I called him up. It’s not within my purview to respond to complaints as Attorney General.
His response was: ‘I spoke to her [the client], explained the process and she said she understood and then walked out of my office and still writes to you’.
He was right. The three-page letter she wrote paints the attorney as the most inefficient lawyer in Barbados and it was just a matter of waiting for a court date to have an order.
I am not saying we don’t have legitimate complaints, but I don’t respond emotionally to them.
The complaints have come from Canada, the United States, Britain and Barbados itself. Is there anything the Attorney General can do about them and about the legal profession?
Brathwaite: It all depends on the nature of the complaint. We in the [Barbados] Bar Association have looked at the Legal Profession Act and there are a couple of changes we definitely have to [make]. There is the question of complaints heard by the Bar that needs to be addressed. I receive complaints all the time. I look at them.
Attorneys and their clients routinely complain about how long it takes to get documents out of the office of the Registrar of the courts. Are you addressing them?
Brathwaite: Obviously, if there is a complaint about the Registry it is of concern to me. I would say that I recently sat down with the Registrar and we chatted for two hours about the issues and the complaints.
Again, it’s a bit of a double-sided matter. I am not saying the Registry is perfect but there are some errors without doubt being made by [it] and there are probably some errors made by attorneys.
We are looking to see where there are areas of weakness to address them. We have had complaints from attorneys and from the public.
Why did it take the Government so long to move on the proposed legislation dealing with the international business sector? Why wait until after firms have left the country to rush the legislation?
Brathwaite: Here lies a fundamental problem. We were too reliant on one particular product. That’s what we are suffering from. As a Government, during the last four or five years we have done more double taxation treaties and investment protection treaties than the last administration did.
We have been trying to diversify the market significantly. We are enthusiastic about Mexico. We are looking to Chile and Brazil. It’s a double-edged sword.
[We] have Canada which was good to [us]. Should [we] have gone off and look for other markets when [we] have Canada that was good to [us]? Should we have diversified before?
The answer is a painful yes. We are diversifying our market in terms of looking beyond Canada while not neglecting that country.
We are not saying Canada is a lost market. Not at all. We believe Barbados is still a far superior place [to Bermuda, Cayman Islands and The Bahamas] to live, work and raise a family.