Submitted by BU family member ROK
I see in the news today a call by the USA for Leroy King, The CEO of Antigua and Barbuda’s Financial Services Regulatory Commission, to be held pending an extradition process. The first question that comes to mind is whether we now have to depend on the US to clean up our corruption acts in the Caribbean? Of course, the way I have seen corruption work, there is always a politician in the wings that is shielded when the shit hits the fan.
The best clue is when you see decisions being made that are bizarre. My biggest fear is all the talk about attracting foreign investment. Then we complain of the changing landscape and usually when we attract this kind of foreign investment there is always corruption; for example, to get decision through to facilitate the transfer of money. People in the know buy up properties and get windfall profits; Town Planning or some other department makes a decision to give permission or the OK for something which runs counter to expectation.
Then when these acts are done, we hear speeches in the media, for example, justifying foreign investment or information suddenly becomes available that was not available before but tweaked to justify some seeming irregularity. I think we have to learn to identify corruption, but it is not a question of finding a culprit to prosecute, although this would break the ice, but it is a question of people putting pressure to end arrangements when they run counter to all commonsense.
This is a position that we need to adopt. We need to start a few pickets. First the FTC for the bad decisions it is making in granting C&W a raise; for allowing a RIO that will simply fleece consumers; for allowing a price cap to be introduced with values that allows the monopoly to fleece its customers.
Then we look at the West Coast and the foolishness being allowed in the name of making big money. When I lived on the West Coast I used to drink as much water as possible from town before I got home because I could not take the funny taste of the water. All the chemicals you could ever want. There is a situation in St. Peter which a Barbadian has been trying to fight for years. He was refused permission to build because the land is situated in a Zone one, yet, right next door to him are two properties for which white people were given permission to build.
When I look at the map, it was drawn in such a way, that these two stretches of land, are miraculously skirted like a pocket, giving these white people permission to build and all the black people around them got no permission. Now unless we can find the resources to call in engineers to check that zone 1, we have no case; or if there were engineers who cared enough to check as a matter of civic responsibility.
I am very concerned about corruption. I have seen innocent people get hurt; sometimes whole communities because of corrupt officials… but people are not willing to support one another in these conditions. You see, it is hard to get the evidence and a fellow with a legitimate grouse will be made to seem as a madman or barking up the wrong tree and he will get no support from his fellowmen. If somehow, we can come up with a formula for discouraging corruption, we would be a lot further than we are today as a nation.
Finally, the one grouse I have with the BLP is its ability to grip the population with fear. It renders men spineless and opens the door for rampant corruption. A perfect example is the UDC, right under our noses. All the contractors who worked with UDC can give you their stories but they are/were afraid to come forward and say, lest they got no more work; so the corruption was allowed to continue. Moreso, the question is whether the media would print the story.
As a result of paying kick-backs, many contractors had to resort to using second hand or inferior materials. Many ended up doing shoddy workmanship because of the greed of the officials. They ended up taking the fall for corrupt officials so they could get more work. I know of a case where a contractor was given a house to build, he ended up spending a bit more on the foundation but for the recipient’s sake, he did not mind. All he wanted was part of the last payment to finish off the partitions in the house because the roof was on.
Would you believe that because he did not give somebody a cut-back, they ended up nullifying his contract, condemning the work and issuing a new contract to another contractor for the same amount to build the same house all over again? Enough to say that the house was not demolished, but more like finished which was just a couple thousand dollars. So somebody went home with booty and a genuine contractor was left to lick his wounds.
Not good enough and if they challenge me I could find the contractor and locate the house too; as well as many more contractors who could testify to the corruption. I don’t know why the DLP hiding it up. Now that is another matter for discourse.