Submitted by Terence Blackett
ITAL has become a compelling and necessary component for any true democracy to flourish. Accountability and transparency have become vogue words that need to be defined contextually or they lose their meanings by overuse or generality. These ITAL components have been used in a variety of political, constitutional, legal, financial, institutional and sometimes ethical and moral contexts.
The political climate within democratic nation-states had changed radically during the early 1980’s, in terms of politics and governments placing more emphasis on providing for public accountability through new processes of open government. The legal framework was meant to provide a wider accountability to executive government and to the general business and social communities. However, its effectiveness in relation to accountability of government institutions to the public in general, as opposed to individual members of the public in their role as clients of government services still remains a highly volatile issue. Barbados is one such nation state where after 47 years of independence – continue to languish behind in adopting a clearly defined strategy for implementing ITA Legislation. Clients of government services still remains a highly volatile issue. It cannot be underscored that there are important implications for our understanding of accountability as a catalyst for change in modern states and their wider application in civil society but also as a medium for curtailing and redressing institutional anomalies. As government, private and public policies change, issues of governance and regulation become increasingly important, including privatisation and devolution, raising new questions about our understanding of accountability and in particular the balance of rights and powers of workers, vulnerable people and institutions.
Some of the BIG questions being asked, for example are: whether new forms of governance are changing public and democratic accountability? How far does government regulation compromise or enhance accountability within the market and economic framework? Does accountability in the public and private sector differ, and is the public interest safeguarded adequately in either case? How do organizations account at the same time to shareholders, employees and the public while being open and ethical?