Dr. Philmore Alleyne.
Persons in attendance at the Breakfast Business Forum at UWI.
Business Monday: Whistle blowing too low
A recent study has revealed that Barbados reported the lowest whistle lowing tendency, it also revealed that Barbados scored the lowest in the categories of accountability/ transparency.
The study was conducted by Dr. Philmore Alleyne, UWI lecturer to explore perceptions of Corporate Governance and Whistle Blowing practices in the Caribbean, given the issues surrounding Clico and other corporate failures in the Caribbean. The sample was drawn from across the Caribbean, and chosen from a cross-section of persons.
While presenting his research at the Breakfast Business Forum at UWI conducted by UWI and CIBC FirstCaribbean, he explained, “In Barbados, accountability and transparency is quite low, but the highest in the region. This suggests that there are major concerns that we need to address, and they don’t trust the laws and regulatory environment that we have...
“Unfortunately in Barbados, there is a high personal cost to whistleblow. We have to develop proper mechanisms, put organisational support and the culture of the organisation has to change to embrace the whistle blowing aspect.
“Any person who reports believes that personal cost is high, thus is less likely to come forward. People are morally compelled to report, but they will not do it unless there is legislation to protect the whistle blower.
“Whistleblowing is not a major part of our culture, but we have to change it, especially those persons who are in the International business sector. There are international standards that we are expected to follow, and one of the things that when we look at the transparency international index, they have us as being corrupt, so obviously we need to change some things.”
Dr. Alleyne stressed, “Whistleblowing is not widely accepted in the Caribbean, because there is little confidence that the appropriate action would be done to correct the wrongdoing if it is reported. To combat corruption and fraud, you have to create whistleblowing legislation, promote accountability and transparency by improving corporate governance legislation and practices, as well as provide adequate disclosures.
“Every organisation should have a whistleblowing protocol, and it is also important to promote public awareness.” (NB)