Friday 27 November, 2020

Atherley wants government to put contracts under the microscope

Bishop Joseph Atherley

Bishop Joseph Atherley

- by Katrina King

Opposition Leader, Bishop Joseph Atherley is urging Government to exercise caution when entering contractual partnerships with entities. 

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Atherley was speaking in Parliament on the Amendment of the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) Bill when he called upon the ruling administration to be cognizant of the dangers that small island developing economies face in efforts to seek infrastructural development. While referring to the effects of the Cahill saga, the leader of the People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PPDD), warned that the government needs to be careful when making contractual arrangements. 

“Our developmental needs tend to leave us exposed to the graft of persons who are not necessarily possessed with the levels of integrity that we would like to see exhibited among those who operate in the business world. 

Government enters into partnerships, especially private-public sector partnerships because of our needs for development on major projects whether it is road infrastructure, water, sewage, airport development . . . . These are major areas of development for which small nations especially when the economies are under stressed can find themselves exposed to the graft of business interests seeking to filter and launder their moneys and other resources criminally obtained,” Atherley emphasized. 

Atherley advised Government to abide by the strict rules and regulations ascribed to international institutions and private financial institutions when conducting business in Barbados. 

He said: “Government needs itself as an entity to practice the same caution that it is seeking to incite on the part of others.

“If we are going to bring legislation that seeks to create a better environment for business transactions in Barbados and to provide the kind of architecture that can help us to minimize or avoid money laundering activities then we have to be very carefully that we focus our eyes squarely and fully on professional entities and professional individuals and group of persons. Government must look at itself and recognize that sometimes we fall into bed with the wrong sorts.” 

His comment comes at a time when one government minister and his ministry are looking over contracts for the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and as government raises awareness of the public-private partnership around the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), to take effect next year.

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