Monday 19 November, 2018

Government urged to proclaim anti-corruption law in December

Attendees at the Integrity Group Barbados panel discussion on the topic: “Corruption: Cost, consequences and remedies”.

Attendees at the Integrity Group Barbados panel discussion on the topic: “Corruption: Cost, consequences and remedies”.

The Integrity Group Barbados (IGB) is calling on the Government of Barbados to proclaim the Prevention of Corruption Act, passed in 2012, on December 9 which is observed as International Anti-Corruption Day.

This was announced by Alicia Archer, a member of the IGB, which is a voluntary, apolitical, open grouping of Barbadian citizens from a range of sectors. Its stated focus is the prevention and eventual eradication of corruption.

Archer revealed this and other initiatives being planned by the IGB at its first public event on Wednesday night at the St Gabriel’s School Auditorium. IGB hosted a panel discussion on the topic, “Corruption: Cost, consequences and remedies”.

Invited speakers included communications specialist and spoken word artist, Adrian Green; Sir David Simmons, former Attorney General and Chief Justice of Barbados and current Chairman of the Integrity Commission in the Turks and Caicos Islands; and Ken Gordon, Chairman of the Trinidad & Tobago Integrity Commission. Radio host, David Ellis, was the moderator.

Archer said, “Barbados has passed the Prevention of Corruption Act but it continues to sit on a desk somewhere without being proclaimed by the Governor General – that essentially means that it is not the law.”

Noting that December 9 is designated as International Anti-Corruption Day, she announced:

“We are calling on the Government of Barbados to have the Prevention of Corruption Act that they’ve passed proclaimed by the Governor General on that day.”

The law makes provision for establishing a Prevention of Corruption Commission, financial declarations and code of conduct for public officials, solicitation and bribery, confiscation and freezing of assets, whistleblower protection and more.

IGB aims to strengthen anti-corruption resources and raise awareness about corruption and its consequences. So far the lobby group has published several articles in the press and intends to host more panel discussions on relevant topics, as well as engage the public via its Facebook page. It is also networking with regional and international bodies and hopes to see the establishment of a local chapter of Transparency International.

"It takes two hands to clap and for every public official on the take, there is his private sector counterpart willing to give,” Archer said, outlining that the IGB was born out of the belief that there is a need for a higher level of integrity in Barbadian public and private sectors and increased transparency in all aspects of governance in order to advance national development.

“At the end of the day, it affects each of us in our pockets. Someone has to pay for the bribe, somebody has to pay for the kickback, somebody has to pay when someone steals money from the Treasury – and that someone is you, me – the eventual consumer of goods and services."