The following statement was issued by the United Progressive Party:
The United Progressive Party (UPP) believes that the key to Barbados’ long-term prosperity is good governance. Good governance within a State means that the Government in the execution of its policies not only ensures fairness but the equal treatment of all Citizens.
Poor governance has resulted in the saying that there are two Barbadoses – an issue which should be taken as seriously as apartheid. Thus between Good Governance and what is euphemistically called political patronage lies the great potential for corruption. And we may very well have crossed the line.
While the law does allow for some political appointees such as Personal Assistants to Ministers and Constituency Assistants the vast majority of contracts, posts and consultancies are not meant to be political.
One is reminded of Michael Porter’s admonition that countries choose poverty when they choose individuals based on race, class or political connections. Despite our achievements Barbados seems to be choosing poverty.
The UPP believes that government leaders must set the tone both in public and in private. Barbados is now becoming recognized internationally as a country of laws with very little enforcement of those laws which prosecute “white collar” or “board room” crime. Barbados has failed to even pass any integrity legislation even though it has been the promise of the two oldest political parties in Barbados. This is a reflection of poor governance as most developed countries have implemented modern integrity legislation and are now in the process of its reform.
Barbados’ Governance model has become so poor that it has studiously ignored the findings of the Auditor-General’s report. The Auditor-General has been saying that its office is understaffed and with insufficient funds to carry out its mandate. The AuditorGeneral is to assist in protecting the money and other assets of the people of Barbados, yet the Government’s priority seems to be to continue to engage consultants with questionable mandates.
The UPP like other Barbadians knows that the money that goes missing from Government coffers belongs to the people of Barbados. The refusal to put qualifying contracts out to tender is a loss for Barbadian entrepreneurs. The money used to pay politicians plucked from one party to the Government’s side is not party money and denies the ordinary Barbadian employment because of government funds diverted for political purposes. This is poor governance.
Barbadians should not become so used partisan political shenanigans that they do not cry out against them. This is not smart politics when it is the taxpayers’ money being put at risk. Similarly there is clearly a problem with the entry of increasingly sophisticated weapons into Barbados. They are then placed in the hands of young men either as rentals or they are given to them carry out a particular job. In a small country like Barbados it is easy to be seen but yet the importation of guns continues to elude the brightest and most highly trained Barbadian professionals. It is expected that the escalation of weaponry in the hands of the criminal class would be met by increase in weaponry for law enforcement.
Barbados is creating a battleground on which the flow of blood and the will be great. It is only a matter of time before it spills into the communities of those who feel untouched from loss of life. Poor governance means that Barbados is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to live. This will eventually scare away business even for Barbadians as already we see an exodus of young educated Barbadians fleeing to better governed countries. The UPP has not given up the hope that all Barbadians can live safely in their communities.
While Government spent a small fortune on scanning equipment for containers, the use of cars for transporting broken down guns and drugs has not been seen as a priority. In addition it seems that small craft can come and go as they please through other ports in Barbados as well as from the shallow draught.
For all our sakes the UPP calls upon Government to demonstrate and send a clear message that it is an administration of good governance, law and order:
1. Governments must acknowledged and admit that the revenues generated or borrowed belong to all the people of Barbados and must not be treated as the personal funds of individuals simply because those individuals have been granted the power to rule by the people.
2. The talk of reforms must come to an end quickly, the implementation of the many reforms promised with specific built-in mechanisms for future reforms must start.
3. We must be cleansed of corruption as a way of doing business through new legislation including the long-awaited integrity legislation and measures to ensure the independence of the Auditor-General.
4. The gaping holes which allow the free entry, distribution and sale of weapons in Barbados must be closed.
5. Every Barbadian, not just political affiliates must be given the opportunity to compete for every job and every contract paid for by the people of Barbados.
The people must ensure that in the next election each vote is cast for good governance.
Lynette Eastmond Vice-Chairman Spokesperson: Law, Governance & the Economy UNITED PROGRESSIVE PARTY