Tuesday, April 23, 2024

PM’s words of little comfort


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THE PRIME MINISTER’s recent pronouncements on corruption in Barbados are, on the surface, very heartening.

He is on record as advising anyone with information about corrupt officials to pass this information on to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The problem, though, is that when you look at some of the most corrupt countries in the world, you see a worrying trend. Private sector corruption pales into insignificance compared with corruption at the level of government. It is easy to see why.

Governments handle budgets in the billions or trillions of dollars. Even tiny Barbados has a GDP of some $4 billion. To fraudulently divert a “mere” five per cent of this figure would represent a staggering sum even for a large company in Barbados.

So the Prime Minister’s advice needs to be reworked. Major corruption is too often a function of governments and large corporations and happens on a level far above the head of the man in the street.

Take a look at Nigeria where untold billions of public funds have just vanished into the thin air of secret bank accounts. 

It would have been much more comforting if the Prime Minister had pledged to stamp out corruption at the level of Government; to personally report any of his own functionaries caught with their hands in the kitty to the DPP; and to rigorously follow the advice of the Auditor General whose reports often have a faint whiff of financial gangrene.

We also recall loud statements after the last general election when there were strident rumours of vote selling and buying, that no stone would be left unturned to stamp out this and that. Followed by dead silence.



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