BLP wants law to curb directors
Opposition MP Kerrie Symmonds is calling for legislation that empowers the authorities to halt the activities of wayward board directors, suspend and even ban them for life from any directorship.
The St James Central representative wants that law fashioned after the United Kingdom’s Directors Disqualification Act and applied to directors in both public and private companies.
Pointing to the ineffective nature of current laws in Barbados, Symmonds said there were cases of directors defying orders of regulators and while the culprits could be taken to court, the matters dragged on for several years.
“The time has come, in my view, that in Barbados we must have legislation to ensure that directors who feel that they can be lawless and run amok, and do whatever they want to do, are brought to heel,” Symmonds told Barbados Labour Party (BLP) faithful at a meeting over the weekend at St George Secondary School.
“And there must be legislation which sets a standard of commercial integrity for people in this country, and sets a standard that says that we acknowledge a duty to protect the public from potential miscreants who should not be unleashed on the public.”
Symmonds said there were also instances of directors using company money for their own benefit, or forming companies for their own and then doing business with Government.
“The regulator should be able to say stop it and suspend you, pending investigation, and if found guilty, disqualify you as a director as happens in the UK. And it means you cannot be a director of any company at all,” he said.
The BLP parliamentarian argued that while ordinary Barbadians were prosecuted for minor violations, people look the other way when there is “lawlessness” in boardrooms.
“When do we also apply a standard of integrity, the same way you apply a standard of integrity to the ordinary fellow in the village . . . driving a ZR on the road . . . everybody else in Barbados?” he asked.
Symmonds, the Shadow Minister for Commerce, challenged Minister of International Business and Commerce Donville Inniss to bring the necessary legislation.
“If I was in Government and if I was the Attorney General or Minister of Commerce, I would be putting it before my Cabinet colleagues for their consideration, because what is at stake is how we protect people from this happening,” he said.