Monday 23 September, 2019

AG: Foreign team to aid in corruption fight

Government intends to intensify the fight against corruption by hiring experts from outside the shores of Barbados.

Word of this came from Attorney General, Dale Marshall, today as he addressed members of the media at the Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM).

The AG explained the Royal Barbados Police Force was simply not equipped to properly investigate cases of corruption.

“It is not to be seen as a poor or dim reflection of the Royal Barbados Police Force. The Department of the RBPF that is responsible for investigating acts of corruption has in three people- that is called the Financial Crimes Intelligence Unit. They simply do not have the manpower to deal with it. In order to be able to successfully investigate a case we need to involve skill-sets that are not readily available here.”

He revealed that local investigative teams have made some headway in uncovering acts of corruption and with additional resources they will be better able to build a strong case.

“We have been looking at a number of things that have happened. We feel that there is evidence that is actionable … the worst thing you can do is to bring a case where the evidence is not ready or weak.”

The AG did not provide an estimated cost or the start date for the foreign expert assistance. 

Marshall also gave updates on the Integrity in Public Life Bill- he said the draft legislation has been completed and is expected to be laid in Parliament in October. He also said by next year there will be a “fully functioning” Integrity Commission.

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He said the decision to have various pieces of legislation to address corruption was more practical than one Act. 

“We had a clause for corruption in our Integrity in Public Life Bill but it didn’t make sense keeping it in there so we decided rather than have a piece of legislation with some corruption, let us take it out and put a proper piece of legislation.”

Another piece of legislation aimed at fighting corruption is the Whistleblower Protection Bill and Marshall said this will come to Parliament by April 2020. The Bill provides impunity against prosecution for persons who share information on acts of corruption.

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