|Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite (left), in conversation with President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). In the background at right is Chairman of Crime Stoppers Barbados, Oral Reid. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??|
Today, Friday, December 9 is being marked as International Anti-Corruption Day, and with corruption being the single most prevalent obstacle to economic and social development around the world, this country can still boast of being a place relatively free of fraud.
Stating that in the 2011 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) Barbados ranked 16th of the 178 countries included in the document, Chairman of Crime Stoppers Barbados, Oral Reid, indicated that this type of activity [corruption] was the abuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain, and that such conduct had the potential to distort market performance, stifle economic growth, undermine the rule of law and debase Barbados’ democracy.
He was speaking this morning at a breakfast seminar at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce, Dalkeith, St. Michael, for the launch of the Integrity Line, an anonymous and confidential programme that is designed to build Partners in Corporate Integrity (PCI).
Explaining this latest initiative stemmed from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in June 2010 between Crime Stoppers Barbados and the, "with the specific intention of assisting efforts to control and reduce crime," the Chairman pointed out that "because we are a small island state, there is nothing to suggest that we are immune to similar developments."
Mr. Reid outlined that his organisation had a "role, as responsible citizens to demonstrate leadership in the design and delivery of proactive crime prevention initiatives" and they were committed to "aid in the reduction of crime in this country in general, and the business sector, in particular."
He added that an increased number of companies had demonstrated leadership by implementing effective anti-corruption programmes within their establishments, and such common features included detailed policies on company-specific bribery issues such as kickbacks, extortion, protection money, facilitation payments, conflicts of interest, gifts and hospitality, fraud and money laundering as well as political and charitable contributions.
Meanwhile, Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who delivered the feature address, lauded the efforts of Crime Stoppers Barbados and the BCCI and stressed that Government was on board in efforts to "strengthen all Ministries and departments to ensure that their practices are manifestly transparent and are in keeping with the financial rules."?? He said that wherever any semblance of corruption was identified it would be swiftly exposed and adequately addressed.
The Minister noted that the present anti-corruption bill seeks to modernise the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1929 which is being replaced to incorporate many areas of the Conventions that were not previously included in Barbados’ legislation.
Mr. Brathwaite reported that a draft document was still to be considered by a Committee of Parliament before enactment.??
The Integrity Line service is available on a 24/7 basis, 365 days of the year.?? Callers will benefit from a unique two-way online reporting system that is supported by highly skilled agents who deal with any matters related to wrongdoing in the workplace.?? It is facilitated through the use of a special toll free 1-800 number that has been set up to route all calls to the Crime Stoppers Call Centre in Surrey, England.??