Sir David speaks of high level of corruption in Barbados
There is a high level of corruption in Barbados and it is high time Barbadians admit it in order to combat the problem, former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons charged.
Appearing MondY as a guest on the radio talk show Down To Brass Tacks on Starcom Network, Sir David did not cite specific examples, but he said the problem was not new.
“I have been walking around telling the country that for years, but we have been denying it. I think there is a lot of evidence but it seems to be more than a perception of corruption at all kinds of level in this society,” the former Attorney General under a Barbados Labour Party administration told his audience.
Sir David did not say how rife the problem was when he was in Government. However, he was emphatic that Barbadians had swept it under the carpet for much too long and that the problem was worsening over time, in both Government and the private sector.
“More and more we are having evidence that there is probably a genuine increase in the incidence of corrupt practices both at the private sector and the public sector levels.
“The bribers are usually the people in the private sector. All the big international companies that get exposed from time to time, they would have bribed the politician who is then held up to ridicule and exposed and often a lot of them get away. They are the ones in the wrong. You have to look at the briber and the “bribee, ” the former Member of Parliament for St Thomas said.
The retired jurist recommended that Barbados follows the examples of Jamaica and Trinidad and establish a branch of the global anti-corruption agency Transparency International (TI) here. He also volunteered to give evidence if TI were invited here “to carry out a proper study”.
While acknowledging that some changes had been made to the Prevention of Corruption Act, he said the legislation was still antiquated and needed to be modernized.
In any event, Sir David stressed, corruption existed essentially in people’s attitudes.
“You are either corrupt or you are not corrupt. You are either corruptible or you are not. If it is known that somebody would take a couple of dollars to do a favour which as a public person, they ought to do as a matter of routine, as a necessary part of your functioning, then people would prey on that weakness,” Sir David said.