Independent Senator, Geoffrey Cave, believes that the Anti-Corruption Bill should not cover powerless officers such as chairmen of government secondary schools.
Cave expressed this concern earlier today in the Senate while speaking on the Anti-Corruption Bill.
“Nothing that has happened in recent years would make us change our minds,” he said. “The truth is that if Barbadians could be assured that their returned bank cheques, for example, were not likely to be exhibited at a public meeting and that their personal documents would not mysteriously fall from the back of a truck, they would be happier.”
Cave acknowledged that a high powered commission would be appointed to administer the legislation, but noted that members of a commission were almost never the people who leaked information.
“In the words of no less a person than Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados, confidential documents have been stolen, even in the recent past, and I have no doubt that documents will be stolen again over time,” Cave warned.
He maintained that the level of intrusion which the bill involved was likely to discourage worthy men and women from seeking or holding public office.
Cave pointed out that the extent of the legislation covered ministers of government in the same way that it covered the chairman and members of the St. Leonard’s Secondary Boys’ School board.
He further stated that the chairman and members of that board were being asked to go the same distance and provide the same information that ministers of Government were asked to present.
Cave maintained that he was supportive of the legislation, but believed that the legislation had made a wide sweep of all persons involved in public life.
“I say these things because if I was a member of a board of a school and I was asked to submit all of the information that is being asked to submit here, I would quietly ask the school if something like this leaked. It is only because of the nuisance of the amount of information.
“We are asking judges of the Supreme Court to be included in this legislation. When I looked at the fines and if you make a mistake you pay not only $500,000 but you may get five years in prison.
“I consider that that is not good news for anybody in public life. I do not believe that judges should be included in this legislation. I do not believe that independent senators who have no influence should be included in the legislation,” Cave argued. (NC)††