Legislation not enough to root out corruption in Barbados Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

The president of the Institute Of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) is sounding the alarm on corruption in the island.

We can have all the legislation in the world but it does not ensure that ethical behaviour and ethical practices will take place.

Tracy Marshall was speaking during the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Lunchtime Lecture on Friday, December 1, when she revealed that Barbados scored 65 out of 100 in the Transparency International Organization’s January 2023 Corruptions Perception Index (CPI). This is a decline from 76 out of 100 scored in 2012.

“Recently ICAB, we held a joint public event with Integrity Group Barbados in October of this year and one of our panelists in the discussion on the Integrity In Public Life Bill was retired judge Christopher Blackman and he is a member of the committee on Constitution Reform as well. Retired Judge Blackman shared with the audience at that public event his opinion. And, I am paraphrasing his remarks here, that Barbados does not have a lot of corruption. The current CPI rate of 65 out of 100 and the ranking of 29 out of 180 may be confirming retired judge Blackman’s perception but I am sure that all of you in this room and everybody who is online believe that there is room for improvement. We do have work to do and all of us have a role to play.”

Marshall argued that although the Integrity In Public Life Bill, which aims to prevent corruption and the abuse of power, was passed in August 2023, it is “not sufficient to ensure ethical behaviour”.

“In August of this year, the Integrity In Public Life Bill 2023 was passed in the Senate and it now awaits ascent by the President. The bill itself sets out the establishment of an Integrity Commission and how the commission should function.The passing of the bill marked the end of a long journey with ICAB, we provided written comments on two occasions and presented to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament in 2018.”

She further argued: “While the Institute is pleased to see that the bill has been passed, legislation alone is not sufficient to ensure ethical behaviour. We can have all the legislation in the world but it does not ensure that ethical behaviour and ethical practices will take place. ICAB has made this statement previously and I am re-emphasising it here again today. We believe that the neccessary administrative and enforcement mechanisms the ensure the effective implementation of the legislation are important. The appointment of members of the commission should be a priority. Who is going to be on the commission?”

Marshall also advocated for awareness campaigns and training to educate the public about the Integrity In Public Life Bill and its implications.