“ BPSA wants redraft of anti-corruption bill ”


The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) wants Government to move quickly to redraft the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010 and get it back on the front burner. John Williams, chairman of the BPSA, recently issued a statement on the bill which has been referred to a joint Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament. He said the rationale and reasoning that underpinned the integrity legislation were sound. “It is important that all in society understand and appreciate that the highest standards of ethical behaviour must be maintained by persons who accept to conduct the public’s business,” Williams said. “While not advocating any attempt to regulate the integrity of individuals in a manner that can be regarded as excessive, the Barbados Private Sector Association believes that any perceived difficulties with the present bill must not detract from the passing of such legislation in a timely manner in Barbados,” he added.    One of the more contentious areas of the bill was to have certain “public functionaries” disclose their assets and liabilities. People in public life who would be required to make their annual declarations are chairmen, board members and chief executives of statutory boards and companies controlled by Government, heads of Government departments, judges, magistrates, members of Parliament, members of the Prevention of Corruption Commission, permanent secretaries and officers of related grades, the presidents and chief executive officers of registered trade unions. The head of the local private sector group said while Barbados can be proud of its rating on the Transparency International Corruption Perception’s Index, this “must not be a contributor to the lack of action”. As a result, he said, the BPSA was calling on the Select Committee to “urgently review and present the redrafted legislation”. “The BPSA believes every effort must be made to set the requisite timelines so that redrafted legislation can be presented within a six-month time frame. “It is expected that the Social Partners and civil society groups will be part of the consultation process before enactment,” he added. Speaking recently during debate on the proposed corruption legislation, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said public officials who had concerns about the Prevention of Corruption Bill should not put themselves in a position to compromise their integrity. He said Government understood that some aspects of the bill might make some people who wanted to work in the public service wary. The Attorney General said Government intended to address public access to information so as to bring more accountability and transparency to Barbados.