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


Author: ehinksonadmin

Edmund "Eddie" Hinkson is an attorney-at-law residing in Waterhall Terrace, St. James. The husband of Beverly and father of Erica and Gregory, he has an outstanding record as a community leader. He has been a member of the Lions Club of Bridgetown for the past 24 years and has the honours of being named the Best President of the Lions Clubs in the Caribbean District 60B and of serving as the Lions Clubs Leader of Barbados. Eddie has been a member of the Advisory Board of Directors of the Salvation Army for the past 5 years. He has also served as a member of the Council of St. Johns Ambulance Association, the Association of the Blind and Deaf and of the Council for the Disabled. Eddie has been a sub-committee chairman of the Small Business Association and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A member of the Lawn Tennis Association and the Paragon Tennis Club, he has sponsored cricket, football and netball tournaments, provided prizes at school speech days, assisted churches with outreach and mentorship programmes, provided food vouchers to needy persons and helped in finding solutions to constituency issues relating to land. In government, he served as Chairman of the National Conservation Commission and the Severance Payments Tribunal, Deputy Chairman of the National Housing Corporation, the National Advisory Committee on Disabilities and the Building Advisory Committee as well as a Director of the National Cultural Foundation, a Member of Consumer Claims Tribunal, Income Tax Appeal Board and the Harrison College Board of Management. Internationally, Edmund is an officer of the International Bar Association, a member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and a member of International Who’s Who of Professionals.