A Government minister today appealed to the local business community to stop offering bribes to politicians, while suggesting that there would be no takers if there were no givers.
“I want to say as the minister responsible for Social Partnership relations, that all of the social partners must participate in this project of open, transparent Government – Government based on integrity . . . It takes two hands to clap. So I am appealing to the business partners in the tripartite arrangement to stop offering inducements to ministers, to members of parliament, to senior public servants, to chairpersons of boards in this country because if nothing is offered there is a reduced likelihood of something being taken,” said Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan while participating in debate on the Integrity in Public Life Bill.
Though stating that he had no evidence of wrongdoing, the St Peter representative said his over 8,000 constituents were of the view “that people who take [inducements] should be locked up.
“That is what they are saying to me. But I am saying to those who also give [inducements], refrain from doing it. Refrain from offering inducements,” he stressed.
Jordan also said his Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration, which came to power here following the May 24 general election, was prepared to lead by example and be “rooted in integrity”, even as he revealed that he had already made an official declaration of his personal assets.
“I have placed in a sealed envelope about 40 sheets of paper. A lot of sheets of paper [including] papers that do not reflect my assets, but you had to answer a lot of questions,” he said, in explaining the process involved.
“I have placed my information, and I have placed my wife’s information and my children’s information in a sealed envelope because I am prepared, like the rest of my colleagues, to be held accountable by the people of Barbados,” Jordan added.
Today, Prime Minister Mia Mottley while leading off debate in the House of Assembly on the second round of debate on the Integrity in Public Life Bill, announced that even before the measure becomes law, all members of the ruling BLP had agreed to declare their assets.
In fact, Mottley, who was away last week on official business when the bill was first tabled by Attorney General Dale Marshall, said that in another two weeks she expected all members of her Cabinet to submit their declaration of assets forms to the Cabinet Secretary.
“I want to thank the members of my Cabinet for agreeing in advance of legislation for the declaration of assets in sealed envelopes being held, and, in some instances where they are still awaiting accounting information, to be held by the Cabinet Secretary, because by the end of this month all of these must be sealed away, even though there is no integrity commission potentially for another three months,” she said, adding that “this is leadership by example” .
However, the Prime Minister acknowledged that some people would be reluctant to serve in public office as a result of the new legislation, due to be passed by October.
“The notion of having to disclose one’s business to any entity that is outside of your job or your family or your church, is a load that may be too heavy to bear for some of our citizens because they are simply not accustomed to it,” she said.