Government is a step closer to establishing the major organized crimes and anti-corruption agency.
This disclosure came from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Thursday afternoon, during a mid-cabinet press conference at Government Headquarters.
She said Cabinet had agreed to give the Attorney General, Dale Marshall, instructions to have the Chief Parliamentary Counsel draft legislation to establish the agency.
Ms. Mottley told the media that $1 million had been voted in this year’s estimates for the agency.
“You have to set up an established framework, and in this case, it is required to have both legislation and then personnel. Cabinet also agreed that Colonel Alvin Quintyne, former head of the Barbados Defence Force, will be assisting as the expert, in helping us to get this major crimes and anti-corruption agency off the ground.
“Before we get to the stage of hiring anyone else, we need to have the legislative framework and the attorney general has to bring legislation to first allow the agency to be established. That legislation will set out what the power of the agency will be; what its responsibilities will be; who it is intended to work with, for example the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, etc.,” she explained.
The Prime Minister added that the agency would also work with overseas strategic partners, as required.
She further stated that the legislation would provide for an oversight committee, similar to the Police Complaints Authority, to ensure that the persons acting in that agency were accountable.
Ms. Mottley said the investigations would be done by the agency, while the police would make the arrests.
She continued: “So, we will have a dedicated agency that comes to work every day to help us fight corruption and to fight major organized crime and terrorism.
“In this world, you can’t be a country with open borders and not be susceptible to all kinds of threats, and it is our intention to protect Barbados as far as we can,” she insisted.
During the press conference, she said she and several Heads of Government had been invited to address the upcoming session commemorating the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization.
Ms. Mottley stated that Government’s first anniversary in office was next week, and she and her ministers would be attending the James Street Methodist Church on Sunday, May 19, at 9:00 a.m. for a thanksgiving service.
She added that during the week, which starts on Sunday, May 26, she would have an engagement with the country where she would report on Government’s progress, and the way forward.