Barbadians’ docility and submissiveness allow the private sector to get away with ignoring their financial commitments to the country, one accountant has charged.
Secretary of the Institute of Internal Auditors’ Barbados Chapter Krystle Howell Thursday night told a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown at the Goddard’s Training Room on Fontabelle it was time for Barbadians to stand up and demand from local businesses money which they owe Government.
To prove her point Howell made reference to the last report from the Auditor General which showed that a number of companies owe Government over $500 million as at March 31, 2015, and that sustained attempts to recoup the outstanding funds had failed.
She said it was an indication that some private sector companies would “rather see the country go down” than take up their responsibility.
“When you hear these kinds of numbers and you realize the kinds of issues that Barbados is having, you have a hard time reconciling why persons are not going after this money . . . because the Government did not give out this money to itself, it gave it out to a company in Barbados that take your taxpaying dollars and is not giving it back. It says a lot about the private sector. Where is the accountability?
“Too often we hide behind the fact that Barbadians are a docile people. But how long can we stay docile? How long can we stay silent and watch these things happening and not say anything? By not saying anything you give the rest of the population the impression that nobody cares. If people think nobody cares, they continue to do these things because nobody is keeping any fuss and nobody is making any noise, and even if anybody does, it is just a little one person here and a one person there. But if we come together and share this knowledge and let people know what is going on, we will have a bigger voice and it will be harder for them to ignore us,” she explained.
“We need to start sharing the responsibility for how we can make things better . . . how can we lobby to ensure that companies and organizations in Barbados that owe the Government significant sums of money are held responsible and accountable and forced to give back this money into the economy so that it can help us to grow,” she added.
Speaking on Information in Today’s Society: Impact and Consequences, the auditor did not limit her concerns to the private sector.
She also challenged Barbadians to speak out on some Government decisions, including the printing of money by the Central Bank and Government’s high spending on imports.
She said Barbadians should stop “sitting back and just watching it happen and saying, ‘it is not my fault I am not getting involved in that’”.
Pointing to the recent uproar over potholes, she said in order for things to improve here, Barbadians needed to become assertive.
“We make fun of persons who protest and who stand up, but we have seen even recently with the pothole situation how protesting can make a difference. And as much as I may not agree with the short-term solution, it still got action to come forth,” Howell stressed.