The Grenville Phillips Column – Power Can Corrupt Very Good People

Solutions Barbados recently held their Annual General Meeting.  All Executive positions are for one-year terms, and Grenville Phillips II was re-elected to serve another term as President.

Politicians in all of the political parties, who participated in the last general election, know that politics is not only a very dirty game, but a cesspool of some of the worst types of behaviour.  The public gets a glimpse of how vile politics truly is, by the constant accusations of gross corruption that our Members of Parliament regularly accuse each other in our House of Assembly.

All politicians constantly face two main temptations, and the public always pays a very high price if politicians surrender to them.  Solutions Barbados Candidates are also aware of the significant harm to their professional reputations and their families if they fail in this manner.  Therefore, we have taken drastic steps to protect the public and our families, by willingly restraining ourselves.

The first temptation is accepting bribes, and politicians facing severe financial challenges are most vulnerable.  Politicians who cannot afford their mortgage payments are extremely vulnerable to accepting bribes.

To address the bribery temptation, all Solutions Barbados Candidates willingly sign a binding contract, to go bankrupt if they accept bribes.  Each Candidate’s contract is terminated at the end of each election cycle if the Candidate is not elected.  Once terminated, the contract may be renewed.

Of the 28 Solutions Barbados Candidates in the 2018 General Election, 17 chose to protect the public by renewing their contracts.  Of those who chose not to, approximately half found the cesspool of politics to dirty to continue, while the remainder chose to continue their quest with other parties, but unrestrained by our contract.

The second temptation is far more sinister – and permanent.  It is the corrupting influence of power.  British politician, Lord Acton, observably wrote over a century ago, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

From our last general election experience, it appears to be the craving for power that can corrupt previously decent people very quickly and very easily.  It also corrupts them stealthily, so that persons are unaware of how far they have fallen.  It is this craving for power that led Judas to deceptively betray Jesus.  Deception and betrayal are the two obvious symptoms of persons corrupted by craving power.

To address the corrupting influence of craving power, Solutions Barbados Candidates have deliberately chosen not to become career politicians.  We offer ourselves to the public for two simple reasons.  The first is to bring relief to Barbadians who have had enough of the gross mismanagement and political corruption that both established parties regularly accuse the other.  The second is to actively help all Barbadians to prosper.

If voters have had enough of what they have been forced to tolerate from both established parties, and want prosperity for their households, then they are welcome to support Solutions Barbados candidates – for their own benefit.  Our economic growth plan, which was independently favourably assessed, and which the Prime Minister promised would be allowed to contend (a broken promise), can still be used to bring prosperity to Barbadian households without austerity.

We are committed to offering ourselves to properly manage the public affairs of Barbados, whenever the next general election is called.  Unlike the last election when voters felt that they needed to vote against the DLP, this time, they can choose to actually vote for something good.

If voters have not yet had enough of the dirty political game by then, then we will accept their decision as final for us.  To continue to offer ourselves to an unwilling public after the next general election, is for us, to crave power.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

The Grenville Phillips Column – Messy Business


Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

Corruption trials are messy affairs. If the receivers are tried, then the payers will likely be revealed and reputations can be damaged. Charging politicians with corruption can also lead to speculation that every procurement decision within that ministry had a bribe component.

Based on the experiences of other countries, simply charging and convicting people for corruption does not stop subsequent bribes from being paid and received. This is because the system that encourages corrupt practices has not been changed. The private sector can still justify paying bribes as a cost of doing business, while the receivers can still justify it as the cost for certain business to participate in the national economy.

Charging persons with corruption increases the risk that the transaction will be made public. In business, the normal consequence of an increased risk is to charge higher costs to compensate for that increased risk. Therefore, the bribe percentage will likely increase.

When government purchases have bribe components, then the public must pay this additional cost of doing business. For the benefit of any who may still be unaware, on construction projects globally, the corruption component is typically 10% to 30% of the cost of projects with no effective oversight. The bribe component is normally recovered from the public through increased taxation.

Politicians are skilled at the art of getting over-taxed populations to feel grateful for the privilege of paying additional taxes. A typical method is to identify an essential service that the public is already paying multiple times over the actual cost of a well-managed service. The public is then informed that additional taxes are required to maintain that service.

Since most people want to maintain health-care, education, sanitation, water, police and other important services, then they willingly pay what is demanded. However, this system of extracting additional taxes relies on political operatives to denigrate anyone who happens to question the necessity of the additional taxes.

Is there an effective solution to get corrupt persons to repay us the amounts they forced us to pay through increased taxes, without a messy spectacle of a trial? Fortunately there is. Solutions Barbados designed a very simple, very economical but highly effective system to achieve both objectives.

First, a 3-month amnesty allows any person who received or paid a bribe to refund taxpayers with the full value of the bribe. Thereafter, anyone with knowledge of corrupt practices can anonymously report them and be rewarded with the full value of the bribe. However, both payers and receivers must then pay a fine of 10 times the value of the bribe.

This fair method does not require the high costs to manage the highly complex Integrity in Public Life bill, with its glaring loopholes for guilty persons, unfortunate removal of protections for innocent persons, and political management that leaves it highly vulnerability to partisan political control.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at