Members of the local business community are being warned to avoid corrupt business practices at all costs, following the indictment of two former senior insurance executives, in a US case centered on former minister of commerce, Donville Inniss.
Last Friday, former Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) chief executive officer, Ingrid Innes, and former ICBL senior vice-president, Alex Tasker, were named as defendants in the money laundering case involving Inniss, a former Barbados government minister.
In a Barbados TODAY interview, Inniss’ successor in office, Dwight Sutherland, indicated that while none of the parties had been convicted of wrongdoing in the high profile matter, the developments were still of concern.
These developments prompted an appeal from Sutherland, who is also responsible for small business development, for members of the local business community to ensure they act in accordance with the regulations governing business while maintaining a high level of integrity.
“I believe once you operate along those guidelines then we won’t have challenges in this country. It’s just to adhere to the guidelines and remove all the shortcuts. Try to follow the correct path as it relates to business practices,” he urged.
With that advice, Sutherland gave the assurance that government would be placing more pressure on local business people.
“I often look at the financial management legislation and the integrity legislation. These are some of the things that will allow businesses to operate with high ethical standards. Good governance structures will be put in place and it will augur well for Barbados.
“These are the laws that will transform how we do business and help us to punch above our weight and move forward as a country with good regulation and good laws, where people will want to do business,” he said, while adding that in light of the country’s struggling economy, “you will get one or two challenges in terms of deviant behavior and a bit of corruption, but once we revive this economy, I am positive that many of these negatives and irregularities will be stamped out.”
Meanwhile, the minister stressed that the news of Donville Inniss’ alleged involvement in the matter should not be a point of celebration by members of the current government.
“We shouldn’t be celebrating any ill or damage being sustained to the colleagues on the other side . . . and I say colleague because we all are supposed to be working toward the good of this country. Indeed it is sad,” he said.
However, he said the development has been a wake-up call and has motivated him to do all in his power to avoid a situation similar to his predecessor’s.
“Politicians need to bring ethical standards and a sense of responsibility and a sense of purpose where people can trust us and feel empowered. I am looking forward to a country where people can begin to look at us [politicians] through one lens instead of with skepticism.
“We will do justice to this country in terms of facilitating high business practices and make sure that everything we do is above board and can withstand any form of scrutiny or regulations and I think that is how all politicians ought to operate,” he said, while adding that government had its work cut out to regain the confidence of citizens.
“We have to bring back a level of respectability to how people see us. We should be seen as role models for young people and indeed that is my mission and my mandate,” he promised.