The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Ministerial Misfeasance

Shane Gibson, former Minister of Labour and National Insurance in the Bahamas

For those not so few souls among the populace who believe that all politicians are essentially corrupt, the Barbados Advocate photograph some weeks ago of Mr. Shane Gibson, a former Minister of Labour and National Insurance in the in the outgone Perry Christie administration in The Bahamas, being led into court to answer charges of bribery and extortion, must have provided ample corroboration of their long-held suspicions.

The general allegation is that Mr Gibson had solicited some $250 000 in bribes while in office and the specific criminal charges are one (1) count of misconduct in public office, sixteen (16) counts of bribery, two (2) counts of conspiring to commit bribery, two (2) counts of conspiracy to commit extortion and fifteen counts of extortion, interestingly enough all committed with or against a single named individual.

Unsurprisingly, the entire matter is being viewed as partisan, especially since Mr Gibson was a member of the losing party in the last general elections held earlier this year and the charges are being brought during the regime of the other party that is now in office. Logically, this should rebut any suggestion that politicians look out for each other even in the face of criminality, but allegations of a witch-hunt, the obverse of this thesis, are now being made with some force by supporters of Gibson’s party, especially since at least two other party colleagues of his, the former Minister of Environment and Housing and a former Government Senator have been charged with similar offences.

The Opposition itself has admitted that these charges are hurting the party though perhaps doing “more damage” to the country, and has announced its intention to file suit against the government over the investigations and to mobilize its supporters to “come together shortly to demonstrate our contempt for these inhumane actions”. That the issue has now assumed political proportions, at least from the Opposition’s point of view, may be further demonstrated by the presence of a crowd of supporters at Mr Gibson’s arraignment who chanted “PLP (the opposition party) all the way”.

Of course these matters still remain to be tried in court and remain mere allegations at this stage. The laying of the charges however raises the issue of the popular expectations for an administration that had campaigned successfully on a platform of anti-corruption and no tolerance for detected past misconduct.

The interposition of the people’s expectations presents a quandary for the winning party. Do nothing in the sense of not initiating any prosecutions whatsoever and either the electorate may feel a sense of fraudulent misrepresentation on your part or suspect that “all politicians are friends” and will never move against each other; launch criminal prosecutions and partisan sentiment is likely to preponderate and you thereby face the prospect of identical treatment of your members when next you assume the role of Opposition.

There is little doubt that corruption is harmful to the economic development of a jurisdiction. A 2011 publication from the anti-corruption organization, Corruption and Fraud Audit Consortium Limited Ghana [CAFAC] identifies a number of ways in which corruption may hamper economic development. These include high consumer prices as a result of an increased cost of doing business; reduced investment leading to reduced goods and services and inflation; reduced commitments from donor agencies; reduced foreign direct investment; reduced tax revenues; deficit financing because of revenue shortfalls; inferior and poorly maintained public infrastructure; uncertainty in economic transactions; an overall reduction in the growth of investment and the economy; and a concomitant reduction in the standard of living because of the inability of government to respond to legitimate economic concerns with social and economic programs.

This linear nature of the relationship between corruption and economic growth has been challenged by some thinkers who are of the view that this relationship is rather regime-specific and affirm that “in countries with relatively strong democratic institutions, corruption does damage economic growth but also that economic growth itself is a strong guarantor of reducing corruption because it means that the resource base from which rents are extracted expands over time…” [Aidt et al, 2008]

That corruption may be viewed as a wrong against the state itself is borne out to some extent by the 2010 decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice [CCJ] in Florencio Marin and Jose Coye v The Attorney General of Belize. There, the two appellants were former Ministers of Government who, it was alleged, had arranged the transfer of 56 parcels of State land to a company beneficially owned or controlled by one of them at a consideration almost $1 million below market value without lawful authority.

The Attorney General initiated a civil action on behalf of the state for the common law tort of misfeasance, the existence of which was doubted by the learned Chief Justice who accordingly dismissed the action at first instance. However, the Court of Appeal reversed this ruling, holding that the Ministers could indeed be held liable in misfeasance for the loss of public property and that the AG, as the guardian of public rights, was the person entitled to institute proceedings.

On their appeal to the CCJ, the appellants’ main contention was that the tort of misfeasance actionable at the instance of the central government did not exist at common law.

In a judgment that should repay reading, a majority of the Court disagreed with this submission. Even so, the two dissentient judges were careful to note that there were other civil causes of action available to the State here such as an equitable action for breach of fiduciary duty that, if established, “would regard all personal profits and advantages gained by any abuse of their status as public servants to be for the benefit of the state” and hence recoverable from the two.

It seems clear therefore that even in the absence of integrity legislation, the common law is well equipped to combat incidents of corruption by government Ministers and others. This may be effected either through prosecution of the criminal offences of bribery and extortion or through the common law tort of misfeasance as endorsed by the CCJ, or the suggested equitable wrong of breach of fiduciary duty.

141 comments

  • @Caswell Franklyn August 27, 2017 at 1:42 PM “I So much so, he made his mother a multimillionaires before she died.”

    @Hal Austin August 29, 2017 at 5:47 AM “And his mother is now a millionaires, presumably from his funding, and when she was not prior to 2008?”

    Read carefully Hal. Nobody said that his mother is a millionaires. What was said is that his mother is DEAD. Dead people cannot own anything, they cannot want anything.

    Oh happy day.

    Like

  • (bajans were treated badly in uk)

    You come here to drink milk
    But you don’t come here to count cows

    You come here to drink milk
    But you don’t come here to coount cows

    When you go to Rome
    you just do like the Romans do

    When you go to Rome
    you just do like the romans do

    if you see them laugh
    That you must also do
    if you see them crying
    give them an helping hand

    Because, no cup no break
    Then no coffee won’t throw away
    nNo cup no break
    Then no coffee won’t thrtow away

    Because, come you here to drink milk
    But you dont come here to count cows
    come you here to drink milk
    But you dont come here to count cows

    Like

  • @Hal Austin August 29, 2017 at 2:14 AM “Mia Mottley, a senior politician and someone who has given most of her adult life to public service.”

    I don’t understand this business of people saying that politicians give their lives…as though somehow doing what one loves to do and earning good money, respect and place in history’s ages while doing so is somehow a heroic sacrifice. It is not.

    When Ms. Mottley entered public service, she was 25 or 26, young, healthy, well educated, partly out of the pockets of the Barbadian taxpayers, footloose and fancy free, without small dependent children, without sick elderly dependent parents, without a spouse to “do” for; she probably had/has significant domestic help. Ms. Mottley has continued in politics presumably because she loves doing so.

    Being the Leader of the Opposition is an important job. Being the Prime Minister is an even more important one. It may well be that soon the people will think that Ms. Mottley has earned a promotion, and she will receive that promotion.

    I think that we should hold off the pitiful, sacrificial, giving their lives talk for the time being.

    I myself spent near 50 years doing work that I truly enjoyed, being well paid for it too.

    IT WAS NO SACRIFICE.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Well Well @ Consequences Observing Blogger August 29, 2017 at 1:31 PM “Hal is all talk, he seesaws worse than a post menopausal old woman”

    Why are you engaging in this sexist, ageist talk?

    I know many, many post menopausal old women and none of them see-saws.

    Like

  • A double murder rocked the St Philip community of Marley Vale this evening as two men were shot to death, bringing Barbados’ murder toll for the year to 26.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/100075/double-murder-marley-vale

    Like

  • It seems as though the young men believe in the death penalty even for minor matters.

    Like

  • Only run flat tyres, a bulletproof vest and a one-way-ticket plus immigration card to another country will help Barbadians during these apocalyptic days.

    The situation is totally out of controll now. Welcome Jamaica, welcome Haiti, welcome Mexico!

    Bushman is right. The Cop Over Massacre was just the beginning.

    Like

  • How many people must be murdered in Barbados before it becomes a “problem” ?

    Like

  • It will only be called a problem if the bullets fly around in their gated communities and hit their Benzis.

    Like

  • @ Simple Simon
    It seems as though the young men believe in the death penalty even for minor matters.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    This is what happens when we get brass bowls in leadership positions, behaving like ass holes …and talking albino-centric shiite about the PRINCIPLE OF THE DEATH PENALTY.

    Fools playing with SPIRITUAL principles that are BEYOND their understanding…. while listening to freaks like Peter polester…and clueless lawyers.

    “There is a way that SEEMS right to a brass bowl… but the end thereof, is the way of DEATH.”

    The ‘Death Penalty’ is a spiritual PRINCIPLE, that establishes the SANCTITY of human life.
    It establishes that an innocent human life is of SUCH VALUE, that the penalty for maliciously taking one … is to concede your own life….

    These jackasses have confused themselves (and other BBBBs) with a satanic logic that effectively DEVALUES the sanctity of human life – and which result in scant regard for innocent life being displayed in the society by like-minded brass bowls who are bent on petty albino-centric criminality.

    One of the MOST incisive questions EVER raised on BU was raised by Pachamama some time ago when, in disputing the wisdom of the Great Creator, he wondered why man would have been made with his genital organs in such close proximity to his anus….

    He did not ask Bushie to explain then, since he believed he was making a great point AGAINST the existence of God…. so the bushman kept his whacker off…
    BUT the answer actually exemplifies the absolute BRILLIANCE of BBE…. and explains why idiots like our AG make such asinine errors …and why it get us into shit such as we now have….

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Simple….lol…but Hal does, some men don’t understand the gravity of their own ailments, unless you compare them to females, that makes them feel other people are just like them and that they really got a problem.

    The mentality of chauvinists.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Gabriel will have to be having a senior moment with that comment, cant imagine he only wants to see ordinary, unknown black people in handcuffs and ministers and minorities should get a pass, that is backward thinking…..and shows all that is wrong in Barbados.

    No one is special….a title does not make anyone special and above the law, everyone who is investigated, accused, proven with cause can be put in handcuffs, detained, tried, convicted and sentenced…

    ……unless there is proof to the contrary..

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Bushman….ah much prefer see them put to work for the balance of their natural lives and actually contribute something to the society in repayment for taking that life…but that’s just me.

    Like

  • @ WW&C
    Bushman….ah much prefer see them put to work for the balance of their natural lives…
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    No disrespect intended….

    But when it comes to spiritual understanding, you are about as ‘enlightened’ as is Froon, Adriel and Stinkliar.

    The road to Hell is littered with ‘good’ intentions…..
    Shiite!!!
    … that highway is BUILT on ‘good’ intentions.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Bushma….but you did not even wait to hear what kind of work I had in mind, there is nothing good about it and even you would want to call me a criminal.

    What good intentions what…. but it’s nice to know ya think am good, cause there are those on BU who would totally disagree with you.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    *Bushman…..

    Like

  • WWCOB
    You should read my post Aug 27,10.55a again.In particular the last para

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Gabriel…I been looking for that same post from yesterday on this link, both pages of the link to reread and can’t seem to find it, will keeping looking.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    I know there was more to what you posted than what Simple pasted, ah just cant remember what.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    “”Now I can understand Barbados police doing that to Lowe,to Paris,to Lashley,to carrington,to ennis to stickler and if James Paul involve in the chicken cover up,he too and if there is a law against bareface media lying Froon too.”

    Gabriel….found it and my humblest apologies, can’t believe it’s been 3 days since that post.

    Like

  • ”Hants August 29, 2017 at 10:15 PM #
    How many people must be murdered in Barbados before it becomes a “problem” ?”

    Depends how much money the big boys making or not making, ent?

    Them street runners most likely make pittances compared to the big boys. Remember what them did to de fella Contone.

    You think this violence now reach. Anyone who would do that is really rough.

    One of the things that has turned me off how things are now.

    Wicked criminals got more money and more power than the average hard working person.

    And whereas in larger countries they are the a drop in the economy, here they control the economy.

    Why you think some of the foreign banks getting out?

    They realise the economy is done, no more profits for them.

    Like

  • What is the prime minister say, what is the attorney general saying; more importantly, what are they doing about this explosion in violent crime?

    Like

  • Hal I dont want to make this sound insensitive but the people on the island are saying they are still mentally screwed up 300 years after slavery because of the treatment that was done. People were killed, tortured brain washed that is what has to happen now to the killers some have to be hung others beaten and the rest incarcerated and mentally affected so that 300 years from now there offspring wishes their ancestors never picked up a gun.

    Like

  • Lawson,
    The social breakdown on Barbados is symptomatic of the failure of constitutional independence. Every institution, every regulation has failed. The gunmen are just the most physically threatening, but in the medium to long term they are not the most dangerous.
    Our criminal justice system is in chaos, we have about 1500 police to keep law and order in a society of 300000 (1:200), our public transport system is run by bandits, and that is just the drivers and conductors. The owners, many of them so-called respectable are even bigger bandits.
    We have teachers who fail kids at school so their parents would send them to the same teachers for private lessons; we have a ministry of education that refuses to publish CXC results for individual schools because they want to hide the failure of the school system. The CXC send them the individual results.
    We have a West Coast property market that is used to launder millions of dollars and not a word is said. We have banks that conspire with gangsters to buy illegally, or immorally re-possessed homes. Again, not a word is said.
    @Lawson, Barbados is in the grip of a criminal epidemic.

    Like

  • Jeff Cumberbatch

    And even in Haiti-

    PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The appointment of the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Roosevelt Bellevue, has been revoked amid widespread speculation of his alleged involvement in the over-charging of kits to school children in Haiti.

    “Combating corruption and impunity is one of my commitments. I shall put all my strength into it. An act of corruption presupposes the presence of corrupters. All are subject to the same penalties,” President Jovenel Moïse said.

    Like

  • Jeff Cumberbatch

    The ‘Death Penalty’ is a spiritual PRINCIPLE, that establishes the SANCTITY of human life.
    It establishes that an innocent human life is of SUCH VALUE, that the penalty for maliciously taking one … is to concede your own life….

    @ Bush Tea, your arrogance is risible. I suppose you will have a ready explanation as to why the very first murderer was not put to death?,

    Like

  • @Jeff Cumberbatch August 31, 2017 at 9:50 AM “I suppose you will have a ready explanation as to why the very first murderer was not put to death?”

    When Cain killed Abel, Cain was not put to death because they could not find an unbiased jury, as Adam and Eve and all de rest ‘o dem were tooclosely related to the accused.

    So they used exile instead.

    Kinda hard to use exile now when the world full up with 8 billion people.

    Like

  • Over and above Simple Simon’s OBVIOUS rebuttal of the childish ‘special case’ example used above, could Jeff please explain how this, (OR ANY OTHER CASE WHERE THE PENALTY WAS NOT APPLIED,) rebuts the principle established?

    If an intelligent TEACHER of the law does not understand the difference between the setting of a PROACTIVE standard,…and the application of REACTIVE penalties, then we may be on the way to getting a grip on the EXTREMELY POOR state of the judicial system that is being managed by his graduates.

    Perhaps, Jeff, instead of laughing away concepts that you do not understand,…you may want to try questioning your ACCEPTED dogma ….the one THAT PRODUCES THE RISIBLE results that we all experience each and every day in our judiciary….

    Like

  • @Bush Tea

    In summary a teacher is responsible for teaching ‘free will’ also inculcating the inherent personal traits which define integrity and virtue?

    Like

  • @ David
    It can be creditably argued that the ‘conditio sine qua non’ of teaching relates MUCH more to traits – such as integrity, virtue and ethics – than it does to passing on technical ‘facts’…

    Especially nowadays where any idiot can just click on google to spout volumes of hifaluting shiite facts …. and big words …like ‘conditio sine qua non’…..

    Like

  • My fren Google tell me wha risable mean…..laughable, ridiculous, absurd, comical, comic, amusing, funny, hilarious, humorous, droll, farcical, silly, ludicrous, hysterical; rib-tickling,

    Like

  • Perhaps, Jeff, instead of laughing away concepts that you do not understand,,,

    @ Bush Tea, Please teach us, O all-knowing one!

    Like

  • The Barbados Meteorological Services is monitoring the progress of two weather systems over the tropical Atlantic.

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=5

    Like

  • @ Jeff
    …so anyone who dares to challenge the lecturer is ‘all-knowing’ now? 🙂

    …and what teach what?!??
    Bushie got a whacker … not a laser pointer…

    This matter is much simpler than you can imagine, but the problem with ‘spiritual matters’ is that they tend to be invisible to PHYSICAL (human) senses. It matters not … how bright you and Pacha are… if wunna were blind wunna COULD NOT see a sunset; if wunna were deaf, wunna COULD NOT hear a wood-dove ‘coo coo’; and if wunna had no nose, wunna COULD NOT smell a bake ham…
    In EXACT manner, without a spiritual ‘sense’, wunna CANNOT ‘see’ or understand spiritual matters… It is this ‘spiritual sense’ that Jesus referred to as ‘the Holy spirit’.

    No offence is therefore intended, …but the DIFFERENCE between wunna natural bright fellas and the average brass bowl Bajan, is that wunna SHOULD be able to deduce that there must be ‘SOMETHING’ that wunna missing…. just NOT SEEING…..that can explains these anomalies… and a mature search should ensue…

    Surely you CANNOT seriously think it just a coincidence – that this problem of crime just HAPPENS to explode across the whole world simultaneously….??!!
    …or that with the best education, technology, infrastructure, communications, that has EVER existed in the whole history of mankind, our world is in such unprecedented shambles …and hopelessness…???

    Surely not….!

    Like

  • I agree with Hal this yardfowl Fractured is allowed to demean people on this blog with impunity and no evidence whatsoever.His post about Ms Mottley should not have been published and I think he should apologise or be banned.I wonder what he thinks about the Speaker of the House.Fractured remember thi time longer than twine scumbag.

    Like

  • This is real political theatrics.

    “Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has come in for a blistering tongue lashing from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who contends that he betrayed his working-class roots when he handed reins of Barbados’ oldest political party to Mia Mottley.”

    https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/09/02/arthur-forgot-where-he-came-from-says-stuart/

    Like

  • The DLP’s plan is to toy cut off the head of the BLP, forget about the issues. A people get the leadership it deserves someone said.

    Like

  • Politics!!!

    ” somebody has to put him or herself through the trouble to explain the present leader of the Barbados Labour Party to Barbadians and I am going to do it,” Stuart said ”

    @ David What is he going to explain that the people of Barbados don’t know ?

    Like

  • @Hants

    Tired of hearing jackasses bray. Can you imagine it is the very same jackasses who were supportive of Mia when Arthur and the gang of 5 booted her out as leader of the party? We like it so.

    Politics!

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ David September 2, 2017 at 5:03 PM

    Owen is deserving of the nasty treatment being meted out to him.
    Is this the same Arthur who was recently recommended by the ‘now-in-hiding’ MoF to be the chief advisor to the same government on economic matters?
    Is this man a glutton for continuous verbal abuse and such blatant disrespect?
    Serves Owen right! He should have traded Mia to Freundel when he had the chance in 2011 and 2012.

    What Mia needs to do is to reproduce the many speeches made by the same Fumble in his quest to assassinate the character and destroy the legacy of the same OSA?

    David, is it possible for you to reproduce the speech made by the same Freundel when he was the AG in the David Thompson Cabinet?

    The speech could have been made in Parliament during the first or second budget debate and reproduced as a lead article in the Barbados Advocate Newspaper in which he, Owen, was verbally disrobed and all his political family jewels smashed to pieces by the same King Fumble of the black working class House of Stuart.

    Like

  • “somebody has to put him or herself through the trouble to explain the present leader of the Barbados Labour Party to Barbadians and I am going to do it,” Stuart said ”

    Well may God help you when somebody has to put him or herself through the trouble to explain the present leader of the Democratic Labour Party to Barbadians…..

    That will be a closet out of which many skeletons will tumble. Be careful Fumble. You are playing with fire and the burns you will receive will destroy what little respect you may have left.

    Best let sleeping dogs lie.

    Like

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