It has become patently obvious to the BU household that politicians in Barbados are members of a fraternity who will defend their ‘club’ even at the expense of the national interest. The two political parties have been latched on to a good thing for the last 30 years. Each party gets a chance to enjoy the ‘sweets’ compliments of the taxpayers.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) promised to introduce integrity legislation in 1976, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) opposed it. The Democratic Labour Party promised integrity legislation in 100 days of assuming office in 2008, it is now over 1000 days and counting. The legislation reached the lower house as it did in 1976 to be relegated to a sub committee of parliament. It would be an optimistic sort who would expect the legislation to rear its head for the balance of the government’s term.
Where the collusion of the BLP and DLP can be seen – whether by accident or design – is in the loud silence the opposition party has been able to manage on the matter of integrity legislation. It seems a no-brainer that a party which was accused of massive corruption at every turn leading up to the last general election would have held the feet of the government to the fire regarding the promise to proclaim integrity legislation in Barbados to sanitize its reputation.
The revelation that Opposition Leader Owen Arthur will resurrect the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) next week demonstrates how the political parties making mock sport at the people. The purpose of the PAC under our system of government is honourable but it is one working committee which has always been used by both parties to achieve political outcomes rather than to expose malfeasance in the public sector.
Owen Arthur intends, we are told, to use the power of the PAC to investigate government’s decision to unnecessarily had over hand over tens of millions of dollars to pay for a redesign of the Barbados marina project. What is interesting is that Senator Darcy Boyce, a principal actor in the investigation served as CEO of the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. under an Arthur administration. Another actor is Gline Bannister of SMI Infrastructure Solutions who coincidentally worked with VECO to build the prison. VECO also successfully tendered on the Pierhead Project but the process had to be redone when the news broke about corruption by VECO. The insistence by Arthur to force the issue to PAC suggests there is something more than meets the eye. Time will tell if the sitting of the PAC will be another hot air episode.
BU is thinking this is a political tactic by Arthur to build momentum easing into an election period by winning the corruption argument. He can only achieve this objective by politically hurting a member of the club.