The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
There have been quite a few promises made by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) during election campaigns, only to be broken and forgotten by the politicians and electorate.
Before the ULP came to power in 2001, “Integrity Legislation” was massively important to Ralph Gonsalves. He wanted to know who had what and how they got it.
While campaigning ahead of the 2001 election, when the ULP was first elected to office, Sir Vincent Beache, now retired, said that the ULP would have passed integrity legislation within its first 100 days in office.
Remember what Straker said at the U.N.?
Statement By The Honourable Mr Louis Straker, [MP & Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs], 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly New York, 20th September 2002
“As we view the international scene we are troubled by the widespread corrosive nature of corruption in public life in many Countries. The effects in the developing Countries are more debilitating. Corruption distorts the economies of these Countries since, in effect, resources are taken from the poor to give to the rich. My country, as part of its war against corruption in public life, has recently ratified the OAS Convention against Corruption which requires, among other things, criminalizing of illicit enrichment by public Officials and integrity legislation requiring a declaration of assets by certain Public Officials. I humbly suggest that the United Nations recognise the pervasiveness of corruption in public life and the consequential damages and take steps to pass and promote a UN Anti Corruption Convention.
Remember what Gonsalves said in a Budget Address
2003 BUDGET ADDRESS
Presented to the House of Assembly
By Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Monday December 2, 2002
“In 2003, it is the Government’s intention first to put on a sound juridical footing the participatory mechanisms, by way of appropriate legislation, so as to consolidate and advance their work. Secondly, the Government plans to introduce in Parliament a Freedom of Information Bill and an Integrity in Public Office Bill to bolster this democratic consolidation and advancement”.
I know it takes integrity to introduce integrity legislation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. How come the man who loves to sue, who claims to have immense integrity, has not introduced it in 12 years of power?
Integrity for politicians means disclosing assets, incomes and gifts. Where they/it came from, how they were earned, and by whom they were given or to whom they are or given. It also means that the same rules apply to the immediate family of the politician, spouse, children, etc. If there is nothing to hide there should be no problem in doing that.
Integrity Legislation needs not cover any other part of government except elected MPs and Senators, all holders of SVG diplomatic passports, and others if so desired, and immediate family members of those classes of persons. That takes out of the equation those people that Gonsalves claims would become a problem in employing, committee members and the like.
I hope that the rumours that surface every so often about MP’s having bank accounts in such places as Cuba, Panama, St. Lucia, Guyana, Dominica, with huge amounts of money stashed away, that they are just unfounded rumours. Integrity Legislation will give some comfort to the citizens about the actual integrity of our leaders and MPs.
I also hope that the same legislation will give some answers about the US$1 million hawked around Kingstown, and the alleged banking of large amounts of US dollars by ULP family and friends. We are all aware there is other legislation that could of kicked in during these two alleged instances, but we are unsure that that happened at all. There were no known or reported reports of investigations by the authorities or departments into any of these matters.
Of course this type of legislation if passed, should be out of the reach of politicians influence, and should not be capable of manipulation by any ministry or minister whatsoever.
I would suggest that the legislation is left until after the next elections, and should be reciprocal legislation for at least the last seven years.
Nothing contained or written herein is meant to insinuate express or imply any wrong doing by any person or persons if mentioned herein or not.
Self Appointed Keeper of the Whistle
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].