Prime Minister the Right Honourable Freundel Stuart (right) sitting alongside St. Peter candidate Dave Cumberbatch (left) and St. Peter stalwart, Sybil Leacock.
Bring the proof!
That’s what Prime Minister the Right Honourable Freundel Stuart is challenging the Shadow Attorney General, Member of Parliament for St. Joseph and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to do in relation to alleged corruption in this country.
Addressing a political meeting at the Alexandra School on Sunday night, Prime Minister Stuart, responding to claims by the Opposition spokesperson during a press conference on Saturday, that corruption in this country had reached an unprecedented level, maintained that if Marshall knows of such corruption, he had a duty to disclose it. On Saturday, Marshall announcing the BLP’s plans to enact new integrity legislation if it forms the next Government, suggested that failure to proclaim the 2012 Prevention of Corruption Act, was putting the country’s economy and reputation in jeopardy.
“Now all along when this corruption talk was going on, the impression was being given that there was no legislation on the statute books to deal with corruption, until I went to Deighton Griffith School and pointed out that since 1929 there was a Prevention of Corruption Act on the statutes books of Barbados…, but once I talked about it and brought the matter to the open, you’re now hearing ‘it’s there, it’s there, but it doesn’t have enough teeth!’” he stated.
He continued, “Corruption is not a crime against the person like aggravated robbery or murder or assault. Corruption is a crime, or a declaration of war really, against the values to which a society subscribes and when people are found to be corrupt they are held up and shamed because they stand in stark contrast to what a society stands for and embodies.”
PM Stuart maintained that just as the public is urged to reveal information on crime they know about to the authorities, any parliamentarian who says as “emphatically” as Shadow Attorney General Marshall is reported to have said, that corruption has reached unprecedented levels, he too should prepare to disclose what he knows. The PM further said that Marshall’s statement would suggest he not only knows corruption exists, “but that he knows who the corrupt people are”. With that in mind, Stuart challenged the St. Joseph MP that if he knows where the corruption is and who the corrupt people are, to “assert the courage of your personal convictions and put your person where your mouth is.”
“Go! Don’t come to me, and I would not advise that you bother the Commissioner of Police with it either; go to the Director of Public Prosecutions whom nobody can instruct, and demonstrate to Barbadians that you are prepared to stand up and defend the rights of this society and protect its values,” the country’s seventh Prime Minister declared.
The political leader further appealed to the MP to be willing to appear before the court of law to state that the persons identified had been involved in corrupt practices. (JRT)