Prime Minister Mia Mottley has all but imposed an outright ban on the use of private emails to conduct the business of state.
Mottley told a meeting today between ministers and senior public officers, including permanent secretaries, Government business should only be conducted on an official email, the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) said in a release late today.
The Prime Minister suggested that cyber security was at the heart of the decision, stating that Government was spending a lot of money to invest in a secure technological platform that should be used.
“I have advised the Cabinet and I am saying it to all public officers too that no business of the Government of Barbados should be conducted on anything other than an official email,” the BGIS quoted Mottley as saying.
“We have to move to this platform, if not the commissioner of police, I suspect, will have a very difficult time trying to enhance this country’s cyber security,” she declared.
Mottley also pledged to have public officers present at all business meetings, in order to avoid any semblance of corruption and to ensure there was adequate follow up.
“This was the Barbados Government that I came into in 1994, this must be the Barbados Government to which we return in 2018. The notion that persons can meet politically in an office to discuss the business of Barbados without public officers cannot happen because we put ourselves at risk of two things: one – allegations of corruption . . . but two, who is going to follow up? If you are in meetings all day and you don’t have a public officer with you, who is going to follow up because the role of the public officer is to execute the policy and the decisions pertaining to policy that have been made,” she stressed.
Mottley also warned against attempts at cover up whenever “ignorance happens”, advising ministers and permanent secretaries to deal with the issue directly instead, no matter how uncomfortable it might make them.
“Our responsibility is to take the appropriate action when ignorance happens and ensure that we do not involve ourselves in cover-ups in circumstances where then the issue becomes a cover-up and not the original problem . . . .It is always better to speak and deal with the issue directly rather than seeking to find a way to push it one side, either innocently, or to deliberately cover it up. There is never, never a happy outcome,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.
“I will always bowl the ball very straight, even to my disadvantage because I have learnt that even if there is short-term disadvantage there is long-term advantage and I ask of us only . . . to be straight, to be direct, even if it is difficult. There is no conversation that is too difficult for big people to have. It may not always bring you the result that you want, it may not lead to the emotion you enjoy, but there is no conversation that is too difficult for us to have,” the Prime Minister said.