Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

“Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and the senior officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force should be putting together a number of motorized flying squads”

The exchange of hundred dollar bills for votes has now become a standard practice in Barbadian general elections, and if this corrupt practice is not brought to an end it will eventually totally destroy the public or civic life of our nation!

Over the past two General Elections (2008 and 2013) a distinct practice has emerged in which politicians and their henchmen descend upon working-class communities and seek to bribe electors – particularly young men and women – with hundred dollar bills.

This corrupt practice has resulted in thousands of young Barbadians forming the impression that many, if not most, politicians – including some men and women who get elected to Parliament and some of those who go on to hold ministerial office – are no more than tawdry hustlers and con-men!

In other words, the people of our country are rapidly losing respect for the men and women who are supposed to be their national leaders. And when a critical mass of a population lose respect for the men , women and institutions that are supposed to provide national leadership, the nation is lost!

Furthermore, the vile practice of vote buying is gradually and sedulously stripping many of our youth of their idealism and moral values, and is also threatening to subvert the integrity of our electoral system , and by extension, our entire system of governance.

And so, the prevention of vote buying must now be viewed as a national priority!

Barbados does have an Election Offences And Controversies Act (Chapter 3 of the Laws of Barbados), which proscribes vote buying and deems it to be a “corrupt practice”. Indeed, Section 6 of the Election Offences and Controversies Act provides as follows : –

    1) A person is guilty of a corrupt practice who is guilty of bribery.

(2) A person is guilty of bribery who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf

(a) gives any money….. to any elector or to…any other person on behalf of any elector…in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting ;

(5) Any elector is guilty of bribery who, before or during an election, directly or indirectly by himself or by any       other person on his behalf, receives, agrees to receive, or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration…for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting

So, according to the Election Offences and Controversies Act both the buyer of the vote and the seller of the vote are guilty of having committed a “corrupt practice”.

Section 27 (1) of the Election Offences and Controversies Act then goes on to provide that ” a person guilty of a corrupt practice, other than personation, is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for six months or to a fine of five hundred dollars or both”.

Commission of the corrupt practice of “bribery” also has consequences for the election candidate who instigated and profited from it. The Act stipulates that such a candidate may have votes taken away from his tally, and – in certain circumstances – may  be deprived of a seat that he “won”.

Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and the senior officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force should be putting together a number of motorized “flying squads” in marked and unmarked Police vehicles to carry out rapid anti-vote buying surveillance missions in all relevant communities during the last week of campaigning and on Polling Day in particular.

It is time that we lock up a few of these vote buyers !

Barbados Labour Party PROMISES to ENACT Integrity Legislation from DAY 1 If Elected

Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party

The following is the Barbados Labour Party’s draft Integrity Commission Bill. We invite you, the members of the public, to comment on this Bill as we intend – after taking into account your suggestions – to have this enacted  as a priority if we are granted the privilege of being elected in the forthcoming general elections. Please note that all  comments and queries will be held in the strictest confidence. If you need clarification of any point, please leave an email and we will get back to you.

Thank you.

Read full draft of the document uploaded to BU database – HERE.

Has National Insurance Fund Managers Ever Followed Actuarial Recommendations?

What is the latest on audited financials for the NIS? – David, blogmaster

Dr Esther Byer, Minister of Labour with responsibility for the NIS

Data issues delayed the preparation of this report and also affected the quality and reliability of some data that was provided. In some instances, data relationships noted from previous actuarial reviews helped determine current data assumptions.  Revisions made to financial statements that were provided for the preparation of the 14th Actuarial Review resulted in some amounts presented in this report being different from those presented in the previous report15th NIS Actuarial Review.

A repeated criticism made of government reporting by international agencies is the questionable integrity of data collection and reporting. A similar observation was made by the Bahamas based Actuary that conducted the 15th NIS actuarial review. It is worth mentioning that the next report is due at the end of December 2017. It is therefore fair comment to make that successive governments have not managed resources to ensure the most effective financial management  of the National Insurance Fund (NIF).

With questionable data identified as an underlying issue by the actuary, BU is forced to question the quality of decision-making by those responsible for the management of the NIF. If there are ‘data issues’ at play which affected the preparation of the actuarial report, logically management decisions based on questionable data must concomitantly be questioned.

The other observation arising from the 15th NIS Actuarial Review was effectively summarized by BU commenter NorthernObserver:-

Dr Robinson speaks


Alas,[how silly of us all] the problem is the NIS cannot find anywhere else to invest its money. The Fx reserves are too low to be wasted on NIS foreign investments. So the best it can do in this small island economy is to invest in GoB fixed investments.

The figures quoted in the BT piece are correct, but irrelevant. Why? another titbit from the 15th Review:

“The portion of combined investments held in government and quasi-government securities increased from 68% to 75%. This increase is contrary to both the Investment Policy and previous actuarial advice.”

previous actuarial advice??… this was 3 years ago….”Increase investment diversification with goals of reducing the portion of the Fund held in Government of Barbados to 50% over 5 years and increasing the portion held in overseas investments.”
And from the 13th Annual review some 7 years ago
“the National Insurance Board should limit additional lending to government
to amounts that will not allow the percentage of the Fund now held in government securities (57%) to grow any further.”

My point… Forget the reference by Dr JR to actuarial recommendations, the NIF have never followed them anyway. Was Forex low in 2008-09-10-11? Did the NIS alter their investment mix then as advised, or did they load up even more on GoB Debentures/Bonds? Would the NIF be better off today with cash or nearly junk bonds? The wussest part, is the primary reason the Bonds are nearly Junk, is because the NIS bought more, against all advice.

Another tidbit from the Review…After falling behind on its contributions and rental payments, the Government of Barbados covered some of its arrears by issuing Treasury notes and debentures to the NIF….so even though the NIS is lending the GoB millions, the GoB don’t have the money to pay NIS????? More paper.

You see Worrell? You see what happened to him after he towed the line, until he couldn’t take it any more? From the moment you hear the barber IS IN TOWN, catch the first flight you can.

If we are to listen to Minister Denis Kellman and Darcy Boyce before him, the government’s policy is to use the NIF to fund local ‘projects’. Although the holdings in government securities was less under BLP governments, there was no stark deviation in the investment policy of the NIF. Under the tenure of the last BLP government there was a healthy forex reserves yet there was no aggressive position taken to improve the investment mix. The point to register, although the government will never be able to apply the recommendation of the actuary to increase its foreign holding by 20% because the forex chest is virtually empty, it does not address the rising concern driven by market and sovereign risk.

A Matter of Integrity – Call for Michael Carrington to Resign, OUTSTANDING

Integrity is the cornerstone of good governance and democracy. By upholding the highest ethical standards, public servants conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and impartiality of the federal public sectorValues and Ethics Code for the Public Sector

One of the enduring and unflattering memories of the Stuart led government so far is the matter of the case of Speaker of the House Michael Carrington vs Johns Griffiths [BU High Court 2015]. Carrington was ordered by the Supreme Court of Barbados Justice Cornelius J to pay $200,000 to a former client, seventy year old John Griffiths. These were monies owed to Carrington’s client the proceeds of an estate settlement. In summary: the High Court of Barbados had to issue an order for the Speaker of the House to pay his client.

Eighteen months later the knowledge that Carrington was not disciplined by Prime Minister Stuart  remains a blotch on the type of democracy we practice. Bear in mind in the build up to the 2013 general election Stuart won the matchup against Owen Arthur on the integrity question.

It is the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leadership who first trumpeted that is committed to building a society. What kind of society can be built if key stakeholders in the DLP by their actions are not committed to the key value of integrity?

In the build up to the 2008 general election another promise was made by the DLP that a code of behaviour guideline for ministers would be implemented. As far as we are aware this is another promise outstanding designed to hold members of the DLP team accountable on the issue of integrity.

Leaders must lead!

The news that Sweden’s youngest ever government minister, Aida Hadzialic, has resigned after being caught driving over the alcoholic limit is interesting. She faces a possible term of up to six months in prison after police detected a blood-alcohol level of 0.2 grams per litre. To put it in perspective the minister admitted to drinking two glasses of wine. It is unfathomable that any minister or public official in Barbados would resign under similar circumstances. BU is aware the legislative framework does not exist in Barbados to scientifically test and prosecute DUI cases.

Hadzialic’s resignation is important to send a message to the electorate that elected officials are prepared to hold themselves accountable. Accountability is not defined only in law Mr. Prime Minister Stuart. Your advice to Carrington to hire a lawyer sent the wrong signal to a society crying out for leadership at this time. There is right and wrong. It was wrong for Carrington to have withheld clients money from seventy year old Griffiths. You missed the opportunity any leader worth his salt would have used to exercise leadership.

Prime Minister Stuart how are you able to stomach Carrington sitting on the Speaker’s Chair in the Lower House after what he did to that old man?

Mia Mottley how are you and your team able to address the Speaker given his indiscretion?

What credibility does Stuart or his ministers have to lecture Barbadians on matters of morality?

Relevant Article: Drink-driving Sweden minister rues ‘biggest mistake’

Integrity and Education On the Backs of Fallen Leaders

Noam Chomsky opines thatit is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies”. It begs the question do we have intellectuals in Barbados? Who are they? BU adds another question to the pile – is there morality in local politics?

During the last general election Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart was portrayed as a man of integrity when compared to Owen Arthur. Whether one agrees who won the integrity vote Stuart did not object to the comparison. One year later BU believes Stuart has fallen short of being a man of integrity. Before the political cackle begins it is instructive to lookup the definition of integrity, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness”. Did Prime Minister Stuart and his Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite now appointed admit that they witnessed unsavoury (illegal) events during election day? The Prime Minister promised he would check every election law  on the books and bring the matter to parliament to prevent recurrence and in the process finger the culprits.

On another front BU is reliably informed that the government had been in discussion with the NUPW to send home workers for several weeks before the recent announcement. One must reasonably conclude that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart – who is the minister responsible for the civil service had to be aware of the decision to retrench workers a long time before it was announced. Remember when the SmartStream system was blamed by Stuart as the reason why temporary workers were not paid? We subsequently found out that temporary workers are not registered on this system for payroll. The decision to send home workers was not arrived at overnight. During the time the discussions were being held the Prime Minister suggested there was a computer glitch when many public officers complained about not being paid. We hesitate to call Prime Minister Stuart a liar BUT he has been less than transparent about government’s position on the tenure of public servants.

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CONCACAF’s Integrity Committee Finds Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer Guilty – David Estwick Take Note re:Barbados Water Authority

The Nation and Advocate both carried almost identical articles about The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football’s (CONCACAF’s) investigation into allegations about Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer. While the article covered the main allegations and findings it is only when you read the full report of CONCACAF’s Integrity Committee, that you appreciate the exploitation carried out by both men during the years when they were President and General Secretary respectively.

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Government Moves Integrity Legislation Pass the Lower House

As incredible as it may seem to some, the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2012 has passed the Lower House on its journey to being proclaimed. Hopefully this will be done before the Prime Minister rings the bell for the next general election. One suspects though that Prime Minister Stuart will deliver on this piece of legislation, this is the stuff legacy is built. Perhaps the one regret is that yet again Hansard will NOT record a contribution from the leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur.

A listen to the debate disappointed yet again. Members of parliament on both sides joined hands to paint a picture of a courageous group who has had to bear the brunt of vilification from the public. References were made to the #16 ranking which Barbados holds on Transparency International. The Prime Minister referenced the need to recognize that there is a perception that many in public life engage in questionable behaviour, therefore the need to have integrity legislation.  The listener was left with the impression that the government although tabling the legislation, has done so kicking and screaming.

To state the obvious integrity legislation serves many purposes. In private enterprise rules governing code of conduct is routine. It ensures that all employees are aware of the consequences of certain actions. It helps to feed a culture of excellence. BU posits that many practices which currently fly under the radar may be discontinued or forced into the open with the advent of integrity legislation. Should we remind the Attorney General that Transparency International’s ranking is based on a perception index? It is known how PSV permits were procured by may as a good example. A read of the Auditor General reports from 2006 also helps to form positions unfavourable to politicians and others in the public sector.

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Minister Denis Lowe: A Man Searching for Integrity in High Office

Minister Denis Lowe (1) Peter Allard (r)

The DLP promised us integrity legislation within a short period of time once it had formed a government. Now, on the eve of another general election, there is no integrity legislation. It cannot escape consideration that the DLP did not dare to provide integrity legislation as, if it did, it and successor governments of both political stripes, might find it impossible to form a government, far less a cabinet.

Some time ago, BU promised that on the eve of the next general election it would revisit the issue of Minister DENIS LOWE. We know understand from his accreditation:

He specialises in Developmental/Clinical Psychology. He was appointed Minister of the Environment and Drainage in June 2011, having held those posts and the additional portfolio of Water Resources since November 2008.   He previously held the portfolio of Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Urban Development. 

Before assuming this ministerial portfolio, he was Managing Director and Principal Consultant with Life View International. We will not go into Lowe’s background. We are only interested in his political role. We note that he was “Managing Director and Principal Consultant with Life View International”.

Related Links: Lowe 1, 2, 3

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The Democratic Labour Party Promised Integrity Legislation In 100 Days, It Is Now 1000+ Days And Counting

To illustrate the more things change the more they remain the same BU has cited three quotes below uttered by the Late Prime Minister Rt. Hon. J. M.G. M. ADAMS, M.A which have been extracted from his introductory speech to the Integrity Legislation Debate (parliament) in November 1979.

During the last Session I moved a Resolution calling for the  introduction of integrity legislation for Ministers and Members of Parliament. After rnuch equivocation that Resolution was sent to a Select Committee. However, except for Mr. Speaker, no member of the then Government, the Democratic Labour Party, attended any meeting
of the Select Committee on integrity legislation and it failed to obtain a quorum. We therefore proposed in our Manifesto that we would pass legislation providing for; Members of Parliament, Senators and politically appointed members of Statutory Corporations to disclose their financial assets and liabilities on assuming office, periodically during office, and on termination. That was our commitment and this legislation is the result.

It is really a very simple principle that every year Ministers and Mernbers of Parliament, Senators should make a declaration of how much money they have, what property they own in and out of Barbados, and under certain conditions what property is owned by their spouse and children. Every year these declarations should be updated and examined by a Public Integrity Commission.

We have carried out an election pledge by introducing this Bill which seeks to preserve public confidence in the integrity and honesty of persons in public life. We know that we have to take the lead because the Opposition is opposed to it. I will not be so uncharitable as to say that the Opposition does not want this Bill passed because perhaps they are unwilling to make declarations and are therefore picking up something that is nothing, along with their anger, to excite the public in an unreasonable way.

Rt. Hon. J. M.G. M. ADAMS, M.A., (Prime Minister and Minister of  Finance and Planning), House of Assembly Debates

Final Draft Of The Long Awaited Integrity Legislation Promised Soon

The implementation of Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information Act are hot button issues. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leading into the last general election made it a platform issue. The DLP’s commitment to rolling out the two pieces of important legislation was made against a background of alleged rampant corruption by the previous administration and intimidation of the media in Barbados.

We are thankful to our reliable source for providing a status report on the long awaited Integrity and Freedom of Information Act:

After much back and forth by BFP and BU on the subject of Integrity Legislation and the Freedom of Information Act, I am indeed very pleased to report that a full suite of Legislation is being completed and so far the Cabinet has seen and has approved the New FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT with the drafting of the INTEGRITY LEGISLATION nearly complete. It is expected that circulation of both of these drafts will done prior to the Christmas break of Parliament and will be passed into law very shortly thereafter.

I trust that this will settle everyone’s nerves and will address the concerns of the people of Barbados, the government of Barbados, the Opposition of Barbados and both BU and BFP.

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