A local attorney-at-law is calling for the Prevention of Corruption Act, which was approved by both houses of Parliament back in 2012, to be formally proclaimed into law before the end of this year.
Alicia Archer made the call during a public discussion forum here on Wednesday night, at which she strongly lamented that five years after the Act was passed by both the Lower House and the Senate, “it continues to sit on a desk somewhere without being proclaimed by the Governor General”.
Pointing out that December 9 is International Anti-Corruption Day, she said it would be an opportune time for the 2012 legislation to be proclaimed.
“We are calling on the Government of Barbados to have the Prevention of Corruption Act that they passed proclaimed by the Governor General on that day. The significance should be apparent,” she told the gathering at St Gabriel’s School for the discussion on Corruption: Cost, Consequences and Remedies, adding that “we are lacking the political will to bring the thing to its natural conclusion”.
While noting that Barbados was a signatory to a number of international conventions, including the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Archer also said it was baffling that Government would seek to keep the Act off the statute books since it “specifically identifies implementation of those treaties as the objects and reasons of the Act”.
Wednesday night’s discussion was hosted by the little-known Integrity Group Barbados, which describes itself as an apolitical organization that is trying to increase the level of integrity and transparency in the public and private sector. It is said to comprise citizens from various sectors of the Barbadian society, including the private sector, academia, the legal fraternity and civil society.
During his feature presentation, former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons slammed the Act, suggesting it was so full of holes that “you could drive a cart and ten donkeys through it”.
However, speaking on behalf of Integrity Group Barbados, Archer acknowledged that no Act was without faults while suggesting that the best way to correct them was by bringing the law into force.
“You must have the law so that the secondary process of determining its functionality can take place. You cannot refine or interpret something that does not exist,” she said.