We cannot accept ‘cash for votes’

I believe the vast majority of Barbadians were aghast at the news that prospective parliamentarians and/or their teams had been engaged in paying cash for votes.

If this were in fact true, and many people believe this to be the case, then we are witnessing an illegal activity at our higher level of governance.

What kind of practice would these people introduce in managing the affairs of the country? Could you blame them for thinking that, having established that “cash is king”, that we will see Government contracts being awarded on the same basis?!

Some people suggest that this is not new and has been going on with corned beef and biscuits from “ever since”. A salami roll is often used as a reference point for these gradually increasing issues. You hardly notice it diminishing with each thin slice taken off but eventually you do end up with nothing.

We surely can’t accept this practice other than as the ultimate corruption of our democracy. Especially when the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Leader of the Opposition have all condemned the practice! And after all the effort that was invested in introducing the Prevention of Corruption Bill designed to maintain integrity in public life.

I don’t think we can afford the trauma and cost of another Commission of Inquiry. So perhaps we should accept the past for what it is – warts and all – and look to the future to set the stage for what is acceptable.

Would it be reasonable to expect both for the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to make a definitive statement on this matter? For my part I would be happy to put up a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the successful prosecution of anyone guilty of this action at the next election. I have already started a lay away programme for this.

— Chris de Caires

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