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Bad apples


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Bad apples

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Corrupt employees are simply a reflection of the society from which they are recruited.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance William Layne “this is a fast-paced world” and “youngsters want to get money quickly”.
“Everybody wants something and they want something without working for it,” Layne said.
Speaking at the Hilton Barbados yesterday during a seminar hosted by Crime Stoppers Barbados to mark United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, Layne said many Barbadians were living beyond their means and “they want things fancy so they are going to be corrupt”.
He noted that revenue departments by their very nature presented opportunities for officials to be unethical, and greater attention needed to be paid to the screening of those workers during the hiring process.
However, he said the extent to which people would engage in wrongdoing depended on the laws and how they were enforced as well as the values of the society.
Layne added that the interplay between Government and business could lead to corruption “because the society does not strongly sanction that kind of behaviour”.
“We are all recruited from the same society, and if the society accepts corruption, we will have corrupt behaviour in society regardless of how many laws we pass,” Layne said.
He noted that in Guyana, the government made officials in the Central Revenue Agency undertake lie detector tests.
Consequently, the government fired several employees but was not able to reduce the level of corruption in the agency “since they replaced them with people from the same society”.
The permanent secretary said that because in small societies the government was usually the largest procurer of goods and services, the private sector tended to want to win its favour.
He added that while Barbados has a lot of laws, “the problem is always enforcement and the problem is getting people to come and speak to you”.  
“That is a feature of small societies. People are afraid,” he said.
Layne said the cost of fraud and corruption to taxpayers could be horrendous.
“For example, our Estimates for 2010/2011 make provision for expenditure of BDS$4 billion. If ten per cent of the amount incurred is a consequence of corruption that is five per cent of GDP,” Layne said. (NB)

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