High-level corruption and rampant crime can cause profound harm to Barbados’ foreign relations, Foreign Trade Minister Sandra Husbands warned in Parliament today.
The St James South MP said: “[Corruption] goes beyond our orders. It affects us internationally. The economic system has become more and more globally integrated to the point where if something happens in one part of the global system it is going to affect the other part of the global system …. And what has dawned on a lot of developing countries and a lot of international agencies if corruption is not stamped out in the countries that they have to engage in it then results in a major problem.”
Speaking as the House of Assembly debated the Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime Bill, Husbands said no international investors or lending agencies would want to engage in business with a “corrupt society”.
She told the House: “This then causes serious economic dislocation because after a while people don’t want to come and invest in the country because there is no guarantee of righteousness or justice in the way in which business is conducted so people prefer to go somewhere else and invest so after a while a country cannot attract fresh investment in order to provide jobs for its people so the society then begins to collapse.”
Husbands said rampant crime will only destabilise the society and cripple Government’s ability to provide for its citizens.
She continued: “If a Government and a society begins to fall in on itself because corruption is the order of the day then after a while what will happen in that country is that people won’t get proper Government services because they will be shared out on who you know or who could pay or can’t pay. If it is not stamped out the resources in that country are not used properly and therefore citizens do not get the basic services that are important to their lives whether it is water or education or health etcetera.
“When that occurs you then get forced migration where people are forced to leave their country because they cannot eat. They are not safe. Sometimes civil war breaks out because people fight over resources. When we fail to stamp it out, when we fail to take care of the proceeds of crime and eliminate the benefits of crime there are things we put at risks.