WHY INCLUDE TRADE UNIONISTS WITHIN CORRUPTION LEGISLATION?
The Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010 was in July last year committed by Parliament to a Joint Select Committee for its review. In its present form, the Bill includes the President and Chief Executive Officers of registered trade unions among those persons in public life who will be required to file with the Prevention of Corruption Commission annual declarations of their financial affairs as well as those of their spouses and minor children.
There is no valid reason why trade unionists per se ought to be included within the ambit of integrity legislation. It is impractical and unnecessary to include representatives of labour within this law when there are representatives of some private sector organizations, which are not registered trade unions, who will not be required to comply with this statutory provision.
Furthermore, the Bill in its present form, if passed, will deter many worthy citizens from contributing to the socio-economic development of Barbados by serving on statutory boards and Government companies. Integrity Legislation within the context of a small Island state such as in our Country ought not to compel ordinary board members of Government corporations and presumably constituency councils to declare their financial affairs to the Commission. Only the Chairman and Deputy Chairman ought to be so obliged.
Conversely, the definition of persons in public life who are statutorily required to declare their financial affairs ought to include not only Heads of Government Departments and public officers at the level of Permanent Secretary, as is presently being proposed, but also public officers at ranks below the top who regularly interact with the general public in our revenue earning, security and law and order institutions.
We can only eagerly look forward to this Bill emerging from Parliament’s Joint Select Committee back to the floor of the House for debate and eventual enactment into law, as the DLP pledged to the electorate during the last general elections campaign to immediately undertake.
Edmund G. Hinkson