The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – On the Prevention of Corruption 1

Didn’t we all grow up understanding that bribes and payoffs – – by whatever name or rationale – – were bad? And that people were supposed to be the focal point of society, not money?” ― Ray Bourhis, Revolt: The Secession of Mill Valley

The current governing administration is persuaded that anti-corruption and transparency in public affairs merit a statute prohibiting and criminalizing any behaviour that would offend these ideals. To its credit, it has sought to engage formal public discourse on the matter, a national conversation, if you will, by convening a select committee of Parliament to entertain oral and written submissions from individual and corporate members of the public on the adequacy of the text of the proposed legislation.

Two observations need to be made in limine [from the beginning] in this context. The first is that a form of such legislation already exists in the Prevention of Corruption Act 1929, a statute that, as recent events demonstrate, already criminalizes the cruder form of corruption; bribery, even though it is cribbed, cabined and confined by the relatively minor nature of the offence; a misdemeanour, the comparatively mild, although not entirely lenient nature of its penalties on conviction (a) to imprisonment for two years, or to a fine of two thousand four hundred dollars or to both such imprisonment and fine; and

(b) To be ordered to pay to such body, and in such manner as the court directs, the amount or value of any gift, loan, fee or reward received by him or any part thereof; and

(c) to be adjudged incapable of being elected or appointed to any public office for seven years from the date of his conviction and to forfeit any such office held by him at the time of his conviction”

and the restrictive nature of the mode and time limit for its prosecution in certain cases in that first, “a prosecution for an offence under this Act shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions” and, second. that “proceedings instituted with a view to obtaining a summary conviction for an offence under this Act may be commenced at any time before the expiration of six months after the first discovery of the offence by the prosecutor”.

The second observation relates to the rather earthier point that it ought to be recognized that legislation by itself is ineffective to prevent corruption or any other form of criminal conduct. As the text of the epigraph above suggests, we, certainly those of my generation and then environment, all grew up understanding that certain things, including your good name and that of your family, were not for sale at any price. We did not need to be reminded that selling your trust for a mess of filthy lucre bordered on criminality or infringed a statute. I suppose we were too poor to know otherwise.

Given the failings of the existing legislation identified above, a new statute, the Integrity in Public Life Act, has been drafted that is more comprehensive in its formulation to prevent public corruption.

That Act, still in draft Bill form, grandly purports in its statement of Objects and Reasons its intention to establish a regime, including an integrity commission, to “promote the integrity of persons in public life and strengthen measures for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption”. [Emphasis added].

I propose, over the next few columns, to analyze the draft Bill for the benefit of my readers. I shall do so through (i) an examination of the nature, form and function of the Commission, (ii) the mandated declarations of financial affairs; (iii) the treatment of gifts; (iv) what constitutes an act of corruption; (v) the contents of the Code of Conduct in public life and (vi) the Act’s provision for whistleblower protection.

Clause 3 of the Bill establishes the Integrity Commission, while the First Schedule stipulates its composition and other matters. The proposed Commission comprises six individuals as listed, paying due deference to the skills that would ordinarily be associated with the forensic detection and determination of acts of corruption. Thus there is a designated position of a chartered or certified accountant, a retired judge, a senior attorney at law and two individuals in effect selected by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition respectively.

I am minded to question the stipulation that there must be a member of the Clergy on the Commission, although I suppose that this provision is a sop to the moral nature of integrity. Which leads inexorably to the issue of whether the legal and accounting functions are not more competently treated by the members of the staff of the commission rather than have the membership of the Board of the Commission itself consist of individuals skilled in these areas. On this argument, the sole qualification for membership of the Board should be a perception of personal integrity rather than possession the forensic skills necessary to root out corruption. The patent attempt to constitute a politically bipartisan Commission is to be commended.

As I similarly found to my chagrin when I chaired the Fair Trading Commission, the text of the Bill in its present form fails to make an adequate differentiation between the Board or the directors of the Commission and the staff of the Commission itself, using the omnibus expression “the Commission” to cover both.

For instance, Clause 4 (1)(c) of the Bill provides the following as a function of the Commission-

to make inquiries and carry out investigations as it considers necessary in order to verify or determine the accuracy of a declaration, statement of registrable interests or report of a gift filed under this Act…”

It is at least doubtful whether the members listed in the First Schedule will perform these duties personally. Yet, according to the definition section, these individuals are precisely the ones referred to as the Commission. I consider that there is a need for a redrafting in this regard if only for the purposes of clarity. The Commission is not solely the Board that is targeted rather to providing general oversight of the stipulated functions by the staff.

113 comments

  • lol…at least she accepted your invite, you may get even luckier, don’t give up then…

    Like

  • We have seen this movie before: During elections, the opposition accuses the government of being corrupt. The opposition wins, sometimes hold a Commission Of Inquiry and then the whole thing gets bogged down in legal jargon (mainly Latin, Hal) and we never hear of it again. Then the movie “comes back out” when the government changes.
    Bring the popcorn Hal meet me I got the soft drinks .Will it be the globe umpire or plaza? I know they close down but we still living in a place where time just stands still.
    Latin translation: We gine no wey fast…… very fast.

    Like

  • MR sKINNER SIR
    wHAT YOU MEAN IS THAT WE INTO “FESTINA LENTE?” OR NOT…. LOL

    Like

  • sirfuzzy (i was a sheep some years ago; not a sheep anymore)

    William Skinner September 4, 2018 1:50 PM

    As we are into dead things lately like LATIN.

    Did some research actually i made a new friend in the process “GooGLE”. I think David will be proud of me. Lol

    So I discovered the Latin phrase “Per-so-na non Gra-ta”. Is it possible that we can make “Corruption” “Persona non Grata” bout hay?

    Your thoughts are welcomed; unless u are named corruption.

    Like

  • IN WHAT CAN BE DESCRIBED as a landmark decision, the High Court has ruled that compulsory membership of the Barbados Bar Association is unconstitutional.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/192244/bar-blow

    Like

  • @Hants

    This is a position some have argued, including the late Amused.

    Like

  • “In the 19-page judgment, Justice Beckles determined that no law, including the Legal Profession Act (LPA), was more supreme than the Constitution of Barbados, which spoke to freedom of association.”

    Constitution supercedes the Legal Professions Act…

    So question to Jeff…can the GG who has supreme power given by the constitution direct the Chief Justice to disbar these rotten lawyers who defile the Supreme Court…without having to go through an 8 year disciplinary side show and court case inclusive of the court of appeals.

    Like

  • @ David,

    Why would a lawyer NOT want to be a member of a Bar Association ?

    Like

  • We already knew the Bar Association is useless, the lawyers already know they are not a real regulatory body, they cannot touch corrupt lawyers, that is why they do what they do…the island lacks a regulatory body to regulate the legal profession and unless the Constitution is amended to add one, nothing changes.

    Like

  • Adriel Brathwaite was an extremely LAZY AG..he did nothing to promote changes to the LPA…or the Constitution that would have fixed this, I believe Khan and others had been calling for amendments and offered to draft it themselves…but the corrupt ministers were passing blame from one end to the next and not doing their jobs..Donville Innisss was one who could have gotten Adriel Nitwit his best friend to make the appropriate changes…

    Hope he is reflecting on his deceit will wearing his ankle bracelet in US..

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  • Nonsense….the Bar Assoc is ONLY useless BECAUSE the lawyers are inept, lazy …and not very smart.

    The judge is saying that, “since the constitution speaks of ‘freedom of association’, then the Bar Association cannot mandate that someone MUST join that body.”

    That is fine…
    BUT the constitution does NOT guarantee any protection from the CONSEQUENCES of our free decisions on with whom we choose to associate..

    You are free to associate with criminals … but you should then expect to be treated like a criminal….
    You are free to associate with unemployed, lazy, bums…. but there is no guarantee then that you will have a salary.
    You are free to do … or to NOT do ….any shiite your heart desires…
    BUT YOU ARE NOT FREE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHATEVER CHOICE YOU MAKE.

    OBVIOUSLY the woman is free NOT the join the Bar Association….
    but only a Bajan BrassBowl would then EXPECT to ALSO enjoy the privileges that comes with being a lawyer in Barbados.

    Yet…another stupid judgment made without proper thought or application of wisdom.
    No wonder the whole shiite is a mess….

    Like

  • @Hants

    Some maybe of the few that it adds no value to how they function in the job.

    Like

  • “You are free to associate with criminals … but you should then expect to be treated like a criminal.”

    A regulatory body monitoring and supervising the lawyers on the island would police that..and penalize those who choose to commit crimes…but as things stand…you have no regulatory body no regulation of attorneys…, hence the lady in UK is now free to have a go at PAIN and TEETS.

    Bushman…Justice Beckles is new, not 3 years yet I don’t think, she and 3 or 4 others and this might very well be her very first decision…plus, if you read the Constitution, it pretty much controls everything in every part of government, law and the judiciary…so she is following the Constitution..

    …the only person on the island with powers to work outside of the constitution and its mandates is the GG and whomever she chooses as a group to work outside the confines of the Judiciary…

    Ya gotta take a few days off, sit in a quiet area and really read that document..

    Like

  • Why would a lawyer NOT want to be a member of a Bar Association ?(Quote)

    The Bar Association is a white collar trade union, not a regulatory body.

    Like

  • I like to be fair..

    Karma is real ya hear, just ask Donville..lol

    “DON’T BLAME US.

    That’s the message from the Barbados Bar Association to Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss: It said that contrary to Inniss’ belief, the Bar has always been advocating revolutionary changes to how the legal system operates in Barbados.

    “We assure the minister that we are on the same page and that far from the Bar and the members of the profession hampering the process, we have been agitating for the changes to the Legal Profession Act and have even offered to draft the amendments,” the Bar said in an exclusive statement to the WEEKEND NATION yesterday.

    “The process has not been stalled by the Bar but by a lack of political and administrative execution,” the Bar added.”

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  • @Bush Tea September 2, 2018 10:02 PM “Did one of our ex ministers not give that Golf Course a large sum of government money…?”

    You mean the taxpayers money right?

    The named minister should be made to pay it back to the taxpayers out of his own pocket.

    Like

  • Yall see the game Donville was playing there…he knew his closest best buddy was responsible for heading up a team to make the necessary amendments to the constitution to upgrade the LPA…and what did he and Adriel Nitwit do instead …play nasty games…the blame game….they did no work to make things better for those who have no choice but to resort to using lawyers from the Bar…they did nothing to upgrade the system..

    Ah wish ah could get the person who adjusts his ankle bracelet periodically to tighten it once a week for the next 2 years..he was too damn deceitful and corrupt.

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  • So ya really can’t blame Justice Beckles for this one Bushman…she is working with the hand she was given and the Constitution she has no powers to circumvent..

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  • @ WARU
    Bushie don’t normally argue with women, children or fools….
    What is to think about…? This is not a game of semantics, this is about LEADERSHIP and NATIONAL interests…
    What constitution what6??!!
    The damn constitution speaks to global issues – like denying a worker the right to join his trade union… NOT giving a rogue professional license to escape professional ETHICAL supervision….

    If lawyers are to be given the EXTENT and scope that we give them in Barbados
    If lawyers can have the POOR reputation that ours have garnered for themselves…
    If Bajans can be so STUPID and brass bollic as to allow these lawyers to fleece our donkeys for YEARS now…

    How the Hell else would you expect to control the vipers …OTHER than to have a code of ethics established and a supervisory body with the knowledge, inside information, clout and history to keep them in check…?

    This is what professional bodies are INTENDED to do…worldwide.

    “Why would a lawyer NOT want to be a member of a Bar Association…???”

    BECAUSE they want the freedom to operate outside of the code of ethics.
    Because they do not want to be questioned by others who know ALL their nasty tricks…
    Because they do NOT want to play by the rules…

    Why do you think it takes a thief to catch a thief…?
    What we REALLY need is absolute CONTROL by the Bar Assoc …
    and then WE hold THEM (Tha Bar) accountable when ANY LAWYER does shiite…..
    But that thinking is above brass bowl pay grades……

    Steupsss…

    Like

  • “If Bajans can be so STUPID and brass bollic as to allow these lawyers to fleece our donkeys for YEARS now”

    Because in the last 52 years…there has never been a regulatory body for lawyers on the island, no one ever wanted one…could you see David Simmons and those of his ilk wanting a body that regulates and punishes lawyers for wrong doing…if he and them did…they would have created one…but it was not in there best interest so they willfully never did..

    we could run around with this all day and still arrive back at the same conclusion..

    Until a body is created to regulate lawyers…ya will continue to be robbed blind..

    Ya ain’t got none that regulates doctors either.

    …..ya leaders have a problem with creating regulatory bodies..maybe they think it will cut into their bribery corruption…what so I know..

    Like

  • Simple…ya right..Boyce should be made to repay every dime of taxpayers 2 million dollars he picked up like it was his and boldfacedly handed over to a criminal Cartel…every dime..

    Like

  • “What we REALLY need is absolute CONTROL by the Bar Assoc” …
    and then WE hold THEM (Tha Bar) accountable when ANY LAWYER does shiite…..

    Ya know ah dont agree with Ha, Ha often, but he is right…the Bar Association ya got does not operate like Bar Associations in other jurisdictions…that was not the intent when it was created, it is more of a dues collecting union for lawyers…and with this decision, they will all probably stop pay dues…which will present another problem…because if they do… the Chief Justice/Registrar can withhold their practicing certificate…they won’t be able to practice at the Supreme Court…..the Bar has no teeth, it was not designed to have any..it’s just a glorified dues collector..

    What you need is for the Mia government to create regulatory bodies…one for the Bar and its lawyer members and swift justice should be meted out to their corrupt tiefing lawyers ..and if the nuisance ya now have as AG pulls a Donville or Adriel Nitwit…he too should end up in ankle bracelets..

    Like

  • Breathe Bushman, breathe.

    We will get them all…

    Like

  • sirfuzzy (i was a sheep some years ago; not a sheep anymore)

    @ Bush Tea September 4, 2018 4:13 PM

    Correct me if i am wrong. Wasn’t the judge a lawyer at some point in their legal career?

    if you say yes, then i have no more to say.

    Like

  • sirfuzzy (i was a sheep some years ago; not a sheep anymore)

    What you need is for the Mia government to create regulatory bodies…one for the Bar and its lawyer members and swift justice should be meted out to their corrupt tiefing lawyers ..and if the nuisance ya now have as AG pulls a Donville or Adriel Nitwit…he too should end up in ankle bracelets..

    So what incentive does she have to do this; being a lawyer and Qc herself, and surrounded by senior ministers who happen to be lawyers(QCs) as well

    We live in hope

    Hope is a city in Hempstead County in southwestern Arkansas, United States.

    Like

  • sirfuzzy (i was a sheep some years ago; not a sheep anymore)

    What you need is for the Mia government to create regulatory bodies…one for the Bar and its lawyer members and swift justice should be meted out to their corrupt tiefing lawyers ..and if the nuisance ya now have as AG pulls a Donville or Adriel Nitwit…he too should end up in ankle bracelets..

    So what incentive does she have to do this; being a lawyer and Qc herself, and surrounded by senior ministers who happen to be lawyers(QCs) as well

    Which AG will presiding over the drafting of this legislation, and then push the version WARU prefers thru the lower and upper chamber without substantial changes being made to water down the original language and intent? If you know of such an Ag(person) then he/she must not be a bajan lawyer or lawyer at all; and therefore cannot be an AG as you must be a lawyer to hold such a posit in cabinet..

    We live in hope

    Hope is a city in Hempstead County in southwestern Arkansas, United States.

    Like

  • “Wasn’t the judge a lawyer at some point in their legal career?”

    That’s why ALL the judges must be watched very closely and carefully…they can thank Worrell and the other judges whose names are calling in bribery for that, all of them need investigating and so too all the lawyers, but there is no one on the island to do it…in case Mia is pretending not to notice…this is going to tear down he government…she ought to remember..the electorate will ALWAYS have the final say..

    Like

  • Ah hope Donville Inniss is looking down at his pretty ankle bracelet tonight and remembering what he did to his own people…the lowlife.

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  • @ sirfuzzy
    Correct me if i am wrong. Wasn’t the judge a lawyer at some point in their legal career?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You are right…
    So what?

    Were most good cops not bullies at school?
    Were YOU not a sheep….?

    Systems and structures – WHEN PROPERLY PUT TOGETHER – trumps individual weaknesses in organisational management.
    This is why Credit Unions work in Barbados (despite the brass bowls that run them)

    BTW
    Hope is well placed when constructed around the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

    Like

  • Trust Bushie on this sirfuzzy

    ONLY professionals within these highly technical fields will have the competence, knowledge, confidence, experience, and the BALLS to deal with unethical professional behaviour in that field…once the right SYSTEMS are put into place.

    Try getting a bunch of patients to control professional behaviour in doctors….
    or non-accountants to supervise ethics in accounting…

    It will NEVER work…
    This system of having professional bodies perform these responsibilities within their areas if speciality works better than ANY other system,…and it works globally.

    Like

  • So question to Jeff…can the GG who has supreme power given by the constitution direct the Chief Justice to disbar these rotten lawyers who defile the Supreme Court…without having to go through an 8 year disciplinary side show and court case inclusive of the court of appeals

    Not at all, WARU. The separation of powers doctrine mandates that no member of the Executive may direct the CJ or any member of the judiciary as to a desired course of action.

    Like

  • Thanks for that info..Jeff

    Let’s hope to see a regulatory body created for lawyers AND the constitution amended to include such a body in our lifetime.

    Like

  • No wonder Amused vehemently opposed the current Chief Justice who apparently forgot that were he still in NYC working in their legal system..he could never be this ineffective..

    Like

  • “That’s when a request for assistance under an agreement called a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

    “St. Lucian authorities believe that the facts are indicative of a criminal agreement between Assenza and public officials in the government of St. Lucia regarding this public works project,” ”

    If Mia really wants help from US with bribery corruption and the state of the Judiciary…she can get it..any government in the Caribbean requesting such assistance could get it….but the last government was too steeped in corruption to even request that help, so let’s see what Mia does..

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ Mariposa

    Well looka muh crosses for me doah!

    You see de Stoopid Cartoon dat de BLP mek bout “de debt dat got Mia at the IMF doorstep?

    Mariposa whuloss!!

    When de ole man see dat de ole man said to meself “meself” I said, “write to Mariposa immediately and see if you would lend you the same lawyer you wants to use to sue me for using the Stoopid Cartoons concept!!!”

    Girl dem using de ole man puerile ideas (Enuff of Lorenzo duo call dem dat and you know that Enuff of Lorenzo would know)

    Speaking of Enuff if Lorenzo duo girl you and WARU run off dat man from BU when wunna tag team his as.s pun his endorsement of dem two teives Pain and Teets.

    You got he catspraddle about Pain non existent credentials yo practice in Scotland and Wales and Pain illegal action of selling de people land without dem permission.

    Girl you becoming a regular sensation bout here championing te cases if the needs and the voiceless (albeit contra Mia Mao ZeJong)

    I only pray that you have a similar feeling and speak out equally against Michael Carry a ton away.

    But you can give me your lawyer s names? Cause dem tekking de ole man idea too far.

    I wonder where dem getting de ideas from bout de graphics and images?

    And dem get a specific voice that is not bajan.

    That is a Mia Mao ZeJong idea though she is the only one in the party with that sort of sense…So she is instructing them in their psyche war campaign.

    The images are clean and synched professionally.

    The timing is within the attention span range so that means we have engages a new team member/entity with some sort of acute vision

    @ chairman Ze Jong

    Not bad at all.

    But you still have “the accursed thing” in your household and because of that you will not have any progress with the IMF.

    In time you will learn that you cannot serve two masters Mia.

    This is why even though I ask for ***, if it is done that is good BECAUSE THEY ARE SO ENTITLED BY LAW, but if ***, you realise that it is ok too, because my God is an awesome God (as you have seen by now) and he provides all things.

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ the Luminary Jeff Cumberbatch

    I noted that you have reverted to this Integrity in Public Life Bill

    I should use another verb instead of reverted because it imputed a reflexive for the subject and you were not discussing the substantive topic before.

    So forgive me. (“Why did that man not just change the verb and cut out all the long talk?” Because it is my style)

    You have a very distinctive style oh Luminary

    Each topic here narrated DEVOID of emotion but yet quietly emotive.

    Look at the way you crafted that last paragraph!

    Masterful.

    De ole man reviewed my own line by line examination of the same text and realized even though I had seen it I DID NOT SEE THAT NUANCE.

    True I had made that fox counting the chickens remark passingly BUT I HAD NOT PAUSED AS DELIBERATELY AS YOU HAVE DONE TO EXPLAIN TO EVERY SINGLE READER including he of the adipose lips supplication Enuff of Lorenzo duo, the true state of this pernicious Enabling Act of 1933.

    And that is why de ole man respects you so.

    Because in the face of all the genuflection to Mia Mugabe and her horde you have come here IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF HER RETICULE and said “this law is flawed For these various reasons” while the ole man seems to emote with my Hitlerian drivel.

    I pray that these sheeple around YOU OR WHOM I NUMBER FIRST, can not only see what you are writing, but they take the time to assimilate what you are saying AND REFUSE TO LET MIA AMIR MOTTLEY INFLICT THIS HITLERIAN ACT ON US in the clear light if day

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ the Honourable Blogmaster your assistance please with 2 items one for Mariposa and the other for the Luminary Jeff Cumberbatch. Thank you

    Like

  • “Speaking of Enuff if Lorenzo duo girl you and WARU run off dat man from BU when wunna tag team his as.s pun his endorsement of dem two teives Pain and Teets.”

    Lol..my boyfriend Enuff will be back…his best buddy Vivek is working on the government, asserting his ownership of the Transport Board…showing Mia who is really boss….and allowing her to know his snitches are well placed insude Transport Biard..haha haha. .

    …so Enuff will not be able to resist jumping out on BU..in whatever role…he now has a conflict…loyalty to his buddy Vivek…or loyalty to Mia…interesting days ahead…lol murdahhh!!!!!

    Like

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