Govt moving ahead with Integrity in Public Life Bill
The Integrity in Public Life Bill will be brought back to Parliament during the new sitting. But, said Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, conversations need to take place to ensure broad-based acceptance, as “opposing forces were preventing it from going forward”.
Caddle said that agreement needed to be reached where it was understood that integrity legislation was not just for Government, but extended to the private sector where they too would be subjected to the same sanctions as public officials.
She was among panellists speaking on the virtual CAF Flagship Report Presentation on Integrity in Public Policy: Keys to Prevent Corruption on Wednesday.
In a statement issue by Barbados Government Service, the minister noted that the COVID-19 pandemic pushed forward the integrity agenda, requiring Government to have greater speed and flexibility, while maintaining transparency.
She explained that to meet the demands of the changing environment, Government invested US$40 million in the Public Sector Modernisation Project to improve citizens’ access to public offices. That, she said, would allow them greater access to making applications, such as the Police Certificate of Character, online. Caddle added that Government was also seeking to introduce a national payment system using modernisation and technology to drive the agenda.
She said Government was also in the process of developing a new Statistics Act and a Statistics and Data Analytics Authority.
“It is very important that if you are having data transparency and a Freedom of Information Act that the data must be accurate,” she explained.
She added that work was also being done to establish a Public Investment Dash Board: “I think it is important for people to see the level of expenditure on the projects, where the money is going and the reasons for the delays if there are any.”
Caddle also said work had been started on making the island’s system transparent with fiscal incentives. “We have converged our tax rates in keeping with the OECD [Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development] requirements and firms are now paying a two per cent corporation tax. That has allowed us to say this is a system of fiscal incentives that is available to you,” she said. (BGIS)