Dear Mr Straughn ,
This letter is an issuance of grave concern with the government of Barbados & the IDB Loan seeking to borrow $200 M and the heightened perception of corruption and unethical practices within government.
Taken from the executive summary of transparency international “This year’s corruption perception index paints a grim picture of the state of corruption worldwide. The pandemic is not just a health crises or economic crises but a corruption crises with countless lives loss due to government corruption undermining a fair and equitable response to issues of the day”
A letter to the editor of the Nation newspaper featured on December 7th 2022, submitted by myself Kemar Stuart raised alarm to some sections of a letter to the acting IDB President signed by yourself as minister in the ministry of finance.
Component 4 of the letter to the acting IDB President said that the loan is for economic and fiscal strengthening for post pandemic .The blatant red flag in component 4 of your letter is the use of reason for borrowing this loan which are recommendations from a progress report of the measures prioritized by the jobs and investment council. Investigations into the missing report revealed that at no point in time did this jobs and investment council report or publish their findings and recommendations to the public via consultation / town hall or press conference, written media or else.
The Job and Investment Council met in April 2020 and according to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, the members were expected to report back to the Government within two to four weeks. Some developments changed the operations of these committees or working groups. Since being established 2 years ago , former PM Owen Arthur has died and Former Finance Minister Chris Sinckler has been working abroad
Please don’t allow the announcement of VAT free day distract as these circumstances create a non-transparent environment , therefore allegations of unethical practices and heightened perceptions of corruption in government herein that the minister may have falsified a letter to the IDB in claiming the use of recommendations from the jobs and investment committee as a reason for borrowing a loan, the non-functionality of this committee is hereby in question and raises a challenge with queries on if the committee did in fact made the recommendations to borrow 200M from IDB as contained in the letter.
In a bid for transparency Minister Straughn you were asked to publish this progress report mentioned in your letter as the reason for committing Barbados to an additional 200 Million in debt, the publication should include all members and their compensation. The absent report would clear up any allegations of wrongdoing against the minister’s name
Minister Straughn addressed the public twice since the alarms had been raised surrounding the scenario at hand, both in parliament and press conference; however no public response was issued by Straughn nor the publication of the report was made public.
Analysis from transparency international shows corruption not only undermines a global response to the pandemic but contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy. Over to you Mr Darwin Dottin the newly appointed head of Barbados’ anti corruption unit.
Kemar J.D Stuart