Barbados and Singapore Miles Apart On the Vexing Issue of Tackling Graft

Clean and honest dealing is one of our key competitive advantages,” CJ Menon said. “Corruption compromises the predictability and openness which Singapore offers and investors have come to expect. This is a hard won prize achieved through our collective efforts as a society and we must not allow these to be undone. – The FCPA Blog

BU agrees with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s recent position that Barbadians have to be disciplined to achieve the goal of climbing back to economic prosperity. On the flipside we continue to observe Prime Minister Stuart’s unwillingness (inability) to exercise discipline when it comes to rolling out transparency legislation promised by his government. Clearly corrupt behaviour exist in Barbados and it explains why the legislation was proposed in the first place. Our inability to hold players in the system accountable means graft has taken deep root and has long become institutionalized.

A recent court decision handed down by the Chief Justice of Singapore’s Supreme Court Sundaresh Menon demonstrates why Singapore and Barbados are miles apart on any governance spectrum.

The chief justice of Singapore’s Supreme Court used a recent case to set out new sentencing guidelines for private bribery, especially when it involves services that have a strong nexus to the public welfare.

In PP v Syed Mostofa Romel [2015] SGHC 117 (avaliable here), Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon increased a convicted defendant’s jail term from two months to six months. The defendant was a ship inspector at Singapore’s terminal. He was convicted of soliciting bribes in exchange for lenient ship inspections.

-See more at: Singapore sentencing guidelines: At the intersection of public and private graft

30 thoughts on “Barbados and Singapore Miles Apart On the Vexing Issue of Tackling Graft

  1. Pingback: Barbados and Singapore Miles Apart On the Vexing Issue of Tackling Graft

  2. Corruption and misconduct in public office are the norms in Barbados but it did not just suddenly happen. This type of behaviour flourishes when good men refuse to speak out. It has now reached a point where a significant number of people in this country see nothing wrong with corruption and even go as far as to justify it.

    Politicians complain about corruption when they are not in office but when they achieve office, they refuse to take steps to punish corruption. The problem is that they have to become rich before any loopholes are closed.

  3. Well said Caswell,and the land fraud goes on, Banks will be a word of the past in Barbados , First Caribbean will hit very hard as they will now have to do internal Banking, Fraud money upon Fraud money. Internal laundering,

  4. @ Mr. Franklyn

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    You know what it is and you know what is expected of those, like you, to whom much is given.

  5. “The defendant was a ship inspector at Singapore’s terminal. He was convicted of soliciting bribes in exchange for lenient ship inspections.”

    “In PP v Syed Mostofa Romel [2015] SGHC 117, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon increased a convicted defendant’s jail term from two months to six months.”

    “Lenient Ship Inspections”

    Would it be ambitious to hope that Justice Menon could come to Barbados for an Exchange Trip which could see him give some rulings on some issues that exists here in Bulbados??

    I mean, in light of the Campuz Trends tregedy with the many young ladies who were burnt to death in buildings that ONLY HAVE ONE DOOR, which were, and continue to be a FLAGRANT BREACH OF THE BUILDING REGULATIONS OF BARBADOS, would it be toom much to continue to dream that the Chef Fire Officer and the Chief Town and Country Planner would get locked up for allowing Mrs Ram at Kirpalanis to have operated a one door Arson Trap for over 40 years??

    HOw long would the two of them get locked up?

    • @Pacha

      Respect your view of course but you have to admit it is speculative like the others.

  6. We could never ‘overstand’ Bajan people. People like David who would suggests that graft could be somehow managed.

    Our view is that it is so intricately connected to the body politic that the host can not now survive without the parasite. There is no measurable difference between the two.

    In short, both host and parasite must be gotten rid of in one fell scope.

  7. So the question of integrity remains a burning issue and placed at the feet of present govt for not passing.however why has not the opposition pursue this issue with viligance making it a number one priority as to make sure that govt is accountable .what is stopping the opposition i do belive that both parties interest in making integrity legislation come about is hand cannot clap without the other.somehow i find the opposition silence on integrity legislation interesting unlike all other issues which they have been quick to place blame.

    • “Thine Ingrunce Knows No Bounds.”

      A government is voted to office to lead based on promised and we have yardfowls and JAs asking what about the Opposition. Yes indeed business as usual.

      On 6 May 2015 at 12:33, Barbados Underground wrote:


  8. @ David
    Cuh dear…… Bushie forgot that as moderator you have to read AC’s shiite..

    Sincere condolences…. 🙂

  9. “So the question of integrity remains a burning issue and placed at the feet of present govt for not passing. however why has not the opposition pursue this issue with viligance making it a number one priority as to make sure that govt is accountable…”

    I think you do much better commenting on American related issues.

    It seems as though your memory conveniently lapses when it comes to the DLP. The Democratic Labour Party was elected to form the government of Barbados in 2008 and promised to introduce integrity legislation within 100 after being elected. Seven years and 100 days later, Barbadians are still awaiting this promise.

    You asked “why has not the opposition pursued this issue with vigilance making it a number one priority as to make sure that gov’t is accountable”.

    Perhaps you have forgotten that the Public Accounts Committee sought “to make sure that government was accountable” for giving the NHC $2.46M from the treasury each month for a year and a half, without parliamentary approval.
    The opposition’s vigilant pursuit of this issue as “a number one priority” was answered by the arrogant Fruendel Stuart going to Parliament to repeal the PAC Act.

    The Auditor General, in pursuit of good governance and accountability, has been for years highlighting the financial improprieties of government’s accounting practices, only to be lambasted recently by none other than Chris Sinckler.

    These are just two of a long list of your DLP “making it a number one priority as to make sure that government” remains unaccountable.

    You statement re “I find the opposition silence on integrity legislation interesting unlike all other issues which they have been quick to place blame”, may be true.

    However, I am equally concerned about the DLP’s reluctance in enacting ITAL and their haste in enforcing some legislation to SILENCE their critics or anyone who dares highlight their immoral deeds.

    Ask Omar Watson, or listen to Donville Inniss’ criticism of social media.

  10. That dude was lucky, normally Singapore executes public officials, particularly politicians, et al, who violate the public trust…..BANG…one shot, you’re dead, no more corruption from that soul.

    Not that the behavior should be tolerated put this explains why some workers of the transport board project and transfer their anger and stress unto the commuters; these managers with their powerful foolish mentality need to show some respect to people who work under their leadership.

    “ac May 6, 2015 at 8:33 AM #
    So the question of integrity remains a burning issue and placed at the feet of present govt for not passing.however why has not the opposition”

    I am feeling patient this morning so I will indulge ac the yardfowl, even she understands that a yardfowl by any other name is a yardfowl and a low level of intelligence is part of that criteria…..don’t know what the hell is wrong with Fruendel…lol

    AC…..the DLP/BLP are working from a script not of their own creation, the corrupt system was created by the british with hatred and denigration of the island’s people in mind…..not one of the DLP/BLP members have the mental acuity to deviate from or totally abolish that script, not a one…..that is why both DLP/BLP are afraid of integrity legislation and using the power to implement those rule, apart from everyone of them being corrupt themselves, that is… GP would say….”ah lie”…lol

    On another note, Fruendel is now complaining about the 71 year old protocols of the IMF re Caribbean growth and assessment, he should now be sympathizing with the island’s people who have to tolerate the antiquated rules, laws and procedures that are centuries old, created by the british with hatred, repression and very little regard for the islanders. Now Fruendel knows how it feels to have antiquated laws govern one’s life….but what will he do about it….they have played out the integration song, if parts of europe, latin america and other’s can form their own protocols for assessing growth, what is wrong with the leaders of the Caribbean, most of whom are black MALES….that one is for you the Bushman…

    I see they are trying to lock up the Commissioner of Police…lol

  11. If as David hints,AC does not know the role of cabinet as opposed to the circumscribed impotence of those collectively addressed as HM Loyal Opposition then as my Mother would say “Ignorance is a curse”..

  12. well isn’t the opposition not to represent and speak on behalf of those who voted for them in all issues that affect the country…then .pray tell me that if the opposition supporters are adamant about the need for integrity would it not be the opposition role to push this issue forward and squarely at the feet of govt, it is truly dumbfounding that the yblp yardies would give their party a free pass on integrity legislation as they sit on their backsides and never confronts govt on this issue .however most knows the reason why

  13. But how can the DLP boldly face Barbadians on the issue of integrity when the integrities of their Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been compromised?

    Transport Board employees staged a “strike” this morning citing supersession, unfair hiring practices and a myriad of other issues as their reason for the industrial action.

    And UCAL also joined into the fray, claiming the TB owes them approximately $23M, which has presented UCAL’s management with some difficulty in paying employees their salaries/wages as well as their accrued bonuses.

    Ironically, yesterday I was in the company of 2 UCAL employees who were complaining that they are not receiving any buses to fix, to the extent that they were given only one bus yesterday morning.
    I asked where are the buses being sent for repairs; their reply was L & M in Cane Garden, St. Thomas and Trans Tech Inc. in Kendal Hill, Christ Church.
    One guy argued that it was obvious the TB management and certain other individuals must be the recipients of some sort of ex gratia payments for ensuring all the work was being distributed between these two businesses, while an individual has had the fortune to be using a BMW SUV owned by Trans Tech.

    What can we expect when politicians from both sides continue to breach integrity? The DLP must be held to scrutiny since they presently form the government.

    How can the DEMS talk about integrity when they employed a former bank employee as the Manager of the Transport Board, just to say that this government created history by employing the first female manager of TB, especially when her only qualification for the job is being a member of the Democratic Labour Party.

    The situation at TB has become worse since Sandra Forde became its general manager.

    So, “it is truly (not) dumbfounding that the DLP yardies would give their party a free pass on integrity legislation as they sit on their backsides” and defend their position on this issue. “However, most knows the reason why.”

    • It is worth restating the gist of the extract: Singapore is a successful country because of the importance/priority it continues to place on rooting out graft. Especially where the public sector overlaps with the private sector. YARDFOWLS are not tolerated in that state, only valued contributions.

  14. the blogs can only do so much to give voice to the issues,,however given that their is a two party system of governance, one by which a govt is formed if voted by the majority of citizens and the other party whose role is to make sure that the govt makes good on any promises made to the country, i believe that this opposition has proven to be very weak given that at a time when this country was at its most vulnerable one would have thought that the opposition would have been more pronounced on issues which were left sitting on the back burner by the govt, however as one can plainly see the opposition have preferred to pick those fights which they can share with their supporters on campaigning nights, rather than be bold and outspoken on those issues that affect the country. the fact that this govt made a promise on integrity which has not been implemented also points out the weakness of an opposition who is unafraid to approach or confront this govt on this issue ,,for whatever reason. there seems to be a smoking gun attached to this piece of leglisation which should not be touch and the opposition have decided to stand clear,

  15. no sense arguing !,since that piece of legislation was craved out in the DLP manifesto and has of yet not been implemented the govt was reelected,is it not a legitimate concern that the opposition in the last run up of the election did not utilize this issue to there betterment as a reminder to the people as to why they should not vote this govt back in office,
    i believe all this long talk coming from the fowl house of the blp supporters is just that because they cannot really be serious and so far have not demanded that their leadership becomes more vocal on this issue by taking a stand which would remove all doubt or suspicion concerning as to who the culprits are in keeping this piece of legislation from moving forwards, i believe this is just as good a time for more robust debate in the house by the opposition directed towards govt on this issue one which would help to propel this issue, yes this is a promise but one that is in dire need of both parties support ,right now the answers as to why remains frozen

  16. david your last comment is absolutely true, cause distributing political literature against that govt means your a,ss would be grass as for BU under or above the ground would be unheard of …the heavy hand of the singapore govt would have already crushed such a thought ,so dont be so quick to sing the praises of the singapore govt because they “might” have got one thing right that you agree with,

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  18. I wonder if the PM also has a list of all the members of parliament, left and right, and in no-mans land like OSA, who have bank accounts overseas,and who will be enjoying a more lucrative rate of interest, than the 1.5 % now being offered to Bajans, since our Central Bank has done an Alair Shepherd on us.

  19. I am expecting that Owen Arthur is next in line for a tongue lashing from the honourable Prime Minister, since here or late , he his questioning the fiscal policy of the most perfect and best Government ever . Is the PM going to advise Mr Arthur to come down from Mount……. Gay?

  20. I copied this excerpt from The Bloomberg Financial Times (one of the several places where I have taken to broadcasting our matter and Inability to get a court date under the Barbados Court System the untenable denial of Due Process in our matter of purported theft of patented technology by CARICOM).

    The Bloomberg excerpt reads “Countries around the world have lavished praise on the Singapore Model — a state ruled by a single party, defined by robust economic growth, low crime and startling cleanliness — that brought international renown to Lee, who died Monday. None took Singapore’s example as seriously as China, which sends hundreds of Communist Party cadres to the city-state every year to study it.”

    There is one denominator that undergirds Singapore that Barbados HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DEVELOP, a sense of national pride and duty.

    95% of us intoned, and intone, the “I pledge allegiance to Barbados and to my flag…” without a thought or care as to what the pledge means.

    What has become the standard modus operand in our country is “ME-ISM”, more commonly referred to as “What is in it for Me” or what de yute dem call “Wuk for Wuk”.

    My sticking point is, and will always be, Japan, post 1945/World War II, a conquered nation, negotiating with the conquerors/allies through its nascent MITI.

    Imagine saying to your conquerors, those who were re-carving up the world, like a replay of the Magna Carta, “give us these manufacturing capacities”

    You, the conquered. say this, in 1945, and then 25 years, you are seen ” playing with the “Big Boys”, albeit with what was a derogatory “Made in Japan reputation in the 1970’s.

    Yet, by 1985, that reputation had changed as seen by 190 of 200 US TV manufacturers domiciled in Japan. And of course, the rest is History and where Japan is paladin in the Electronics industries, globally, is know to us all.

    For there to be any possibility of getting anywhere close to that Singapore model there has to be three things.

    VISION, DEDICATION and SACRIFICE and it is startlingly evident that, post independence, irrespective of the changing administrations, we have been sadly lacking in all three.

  21. Each one of these topics, VISION, DEDICATION & SACRIFICE, unfortunately is the subject of a thesis and before the various BLP or DLP supporters jump out to defend this matter for an political viewpoints let me say this, I am not BLP or DLP centric, I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados.. that is the begin point of this article

    One which can easily be complexioned by politics, economics, geography, history, ethos etc., so let me expand on the tangent of my thoughts.

    Some have said that, after the Late Errol Walton Barrow, we have had no Vision to build a nation post our independence and chart a way forward.

    Others (from the Stool on the Hill) have proposed that “the political systems that we inherited from the British should have been deconstructed and revamped to suit who we were/are and where we were going”

    We all can agree that, hindsight being 20/20, as a new independent nation there was an imperative to build something that would allow us to sustain our development then and now.

    Where should that change have begun?

    Should it have surfaced in the constituency branches, and transformed the manner through which our candidates for national service were/are chosen from what we inherited from the former colony?

    Was there and Is there still any validity to the call for us to remove the “corn beef and biscuits practices” (that many a calypsonian has sung about), and to replace political patronage with meritocracy?

    Does it start in our schools through a systematic replacement of learning by rote with “a pedadogy that is based on logic”?

    Does it start in the church or “families first”

    Irrespective of the various view points about the “start point” the point is that we seem to have arrived at “a place of stasis” where many of us are reflecting on where we will go next, as a nation, and how we will get there..

    A thing that we can all agree on is that the world will not stop so we can get off and “do a reset”. We are in motion for the duration of the race.

    Various reports, HDI ratings or IMF papers place us at different “points” which,depending on who you speak to, elicits debate, vehement viewpoints and for some, denial, .

    Manifests are not VISION as the last 30 years of our country’s history have shown us.

    Political Platforms at Eagle Hall or Weston Fire Station with loudspeakers blaring and popular DJs exciting the people to “pooch back” and dagger, every five years DO NOT CONSTITUTE DEDICATION, as the last 30 years of our country’s history have shown us.

    And as dumb as the biggest village idiot that might walk down Broad street in a green leotard might be, the results of SACRIFICE are something that he or she can easily see as it manifest in the state of our country.

    It is by our “works” that we need to define ourselves going forward.

    “What have you done and what can you do” MUST BECOME the litmus test that we demand of our leaders not “which politician you know to give you this job to “badword” up.”

    Let me give you a practical example of the “works I am speaking to.

    400 NCC workers sent home recently, still awaiting an Employment Rights Tribunal.

    This is sad when you consider how many mouths that represents in households BUT, and that is a BIG BUT, I want any of you to drive along our ABC Highway where many of the said workers might? have congregated in 10’s and 20s, at a time.

    From Grantley Adams to the Mile and a Quarter exit all of the abutments to the highway are now incredibly clear!!

    Now one normally sees a team of 4-5 men on a stretch, ALWAYS WORKING, NEVER SHIRKING!!

    Yes, while the Unions will launch their noble representation efforts or we commiserate with a family under financial pressure, neither you or I can fault the OUTPUT OR “WORKS” that fewer men and women, working in the same abutments, are delivering now!!

    Ethos and the Deliverable. It really does not matter all of the talk about who is benefitting financially the fact remains that the highways are clean and we rarely have to swerve to avoid a pile of grass.

    VISION, DEDICATION & SACRIFICE, in small “WORKS” or large “WORKS” this needs to be the ethos that drives each of us each step in the generation long journey as we put “and by my living do credit to my nation, wherever i may go…” into practice and dismiss all those who don’t live by that principle and practice

  22. Now that PM Stuart is chairing the caricom conference in July, seeing that he is the biggest complainant on IMF policies and protocols regarding small island states and monitoring of their economies….now might be the perfect time to not only talk about, but create their own system of fiscal monitoring and reporting and not solely rely on others to do so, then there should be no complaints, period.

    As I said previously, China, Africa, some Euro countries and the Latin countries have done it, why can’t the Caribbean do the same, no one is stopping them, not the US, Canada or Europe.

  23. @ Well Well

    If we cant even monitor how many unlicensed vehicles are on the roads in Barbados, or the status of lawyers who have paid their fees to practice law in Barbados, do you honestly think that, irrespective of the complaints, that we would have the capacity to (i) design (ii) create (iii) launch and (iv) monitor and (v) evaluate a sophisticated system to facilitate fiscal monitoring?

    Will this be orchestated by “Mr. Physical Deficit”?

    Man it is nearly 12 o’clock when a man can go and eat a good meal and full he guts but you are talking like if you have not eaten for days!!

  24. PODRYR

    Why the need to (i) design (ii) create (iii) launch (iv) monitor and (v) evaluate a sophisticated system to facilitate fiscal monitoring?

    I thought the Central Bank of Barbados already has a sophisticated system to facilitate fiscal monitoring.

    Just ask the Guv and MOF.

  25. Due Diligence May 8, 2015 at 1:25 PM #

    I thought the Central Bank of Barbados already has a sophisticated system to facilitate fiscal monitoring.
    Man they did not even have a system to monitor the theft of 1Million new dollar bills from their vaults by a low level employee.
    Hope that Parris’s $5Million , dirty money, kept in the Central Bank’s vault .suffers a similar fate .

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