A ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) spokeswoman has strongly lamented that the former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration promised much, but delivered very little in terms of integrity legislation.
Member of Parliament for St Michael South East Santia Bradshaw issued the charge during yesterday’s debate in the House of Assembly on the Integrity in Public Life Bill.
While suggesting that the measure was “long overdue”, Bradshaw recalled that before his death in 2010, former Prime Minister David Thompson had come to the electorate in 2008 talking about corruption in high places and had promised that “any administration he led would bring integrity legislation and a Freedom of Information Act, and all his ministers would sign a code of conduct”.
However, she complained that “as the years passed, the last administration refused to uphold the principles that brought them to office” and as a result lost favour with the people.
“The previous Government wanted us to believe a piece of legislation drafted in 1929 could be upheld in the case of any corrupt acts, but the fact that we are introducing this new bill, and carrying up the fines associated with it, is testimony that the Barbados Labour Party is taking this matter seriously,” said Bradshaw, who is also the Minister of Education.
However, she assured that the Mia Mottley administration was not on any “witch- hunt”, even though it was determined to get to the bottom of “cost overruns, questionable awarding of contracts and corruption that occurred under the last regime [that] have created an unkempt Barbados that we need to put right.
“We must do all within our power to ensure these things do not happen again. We have a shared vision to see the country do better, but if we want people to carry their weight, we have to lead by example. If we want you to do what is right, we must ensure that as the leaders of the country we put our houses in order too,” she said.
During her contribution to the debate, Bradshaw, who is the Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly, also announced that a joint committee comprising members of both Houses of Parliament had been set up to examine the various aspects of the Integrity in Public Life Bill.
It comprises Attorney General Dale Marshall, Minister of Labour Colin Jordan, Minister of Energy Wilfred Abrahams, Minister of Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde, Member of Parliament for Christ Church South Ralph Thorne and Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley, with the Leader of the Senate due to appoint four members to this committee.
“We will let the public know when this body will hold its meetings, which will take place in the Senate Chamber and be streamed live on social media and broadcast on CBC where possible,” Bradshaw added.