August 2, 2021

WILD COOT: It’s pervasive

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wildcootnew2325-450x303By Harry Russell, From Barbados nation news
It seems that as a country’s economic situation deteriorates, it signals to the citizens, both high and low, and not excluding the politicians and holders of white-collar jobs, that corruption is the order of the day.
One could be a “corruptor” or a “corruptee”.
This can be evidenced throughout the whole Caribbean. Startling examples are seen in Jamaica where the currency fall has been spectacular.
Over a period of 30 years the exchange rate has slid from US$1.20 for JAM$1 to JAM$115 for US$1. Imagine the moral and social impact on the people.
Guyana followed the devaluation route and has gained a reputation as the most corrupt country in the Caribbean – something that caused friends of Wild Coot to hang their heads in shame.
Such goings-on have not left Barbados, the gem of the Caribbean, untainted. Economic difficulties seem to have led us along the same path. Not quite, perhaps political greed. What is most despicable is that people in the commanding heights of the society are intimately involved – lawyers, security forces, doctors, bankers, construction magnates, politicians and businessmen.
Politicians are the worst of the lot. They, who should be guardians of our heritage, now appear to be at the forefront of shielding the offending culprits. Look at who is intervening to prevent public scrutiny; the very ones who should be calling for exposure.
Can we also get the names of the 11 persons who have over US$1 billion stashed away in HSBC Swiss bank accounts?
Those officers who are responsible for bringing tawdry cases to the law courts and helping to eradicate this scourge are erecting hurdles in order to obfuscate public scrutiny. Many are the poor Barbadians who put their trust in insurance agents, only to be left struggling
to survive. Sad!
Barbados seems to be taking lessons from countries for which it was previously a shining example. We were always aware of blatant corruption in other islands, but now it has come home to us with a bang. Maybe it is now more pervasive and people are more bold-faced.
The real tragedy is that we cannot appeal to Caesar against Caesar. Far from that, as we look around for support, we are forced to say to the Financial Services Commission “Et tu Brute?” Why do you not want citizens to know? We have to surmise that many of our renowned citizens are cringing in fear wondering if revelation would put the spotlight on them.
Some, maybe stupid, upright Barbadians along the way, have put their job and reputation on the firing line, only to be shot down. So there is an atmosphere of fear in the society. Some people are taking the easy way out – silence. Even when suggestions are made, they fall on deaf ears once those who are needed to implement see nothing by way of venal enticement.
The question is asked: how do outsiders see us when confronted with this behaviour? How do you expect investors with good intent to regard us if we have a past prime minister accused in the courts of inappropriate behaviour or supporting and consorting with people similarly accused?
A letter by retired town planner Mr Leonard St Hill about the action of Government changing something as important as the murder laws without going to the people is worthwhile reading. Why should we cow-tow to Amnesty International?
Go talk to the United States, Saudi Arabia or Indonesia. Indonesia has a sign at the airport and seaport that says to drop off your drugs in the basket provided here and proceed freely; otherwise, if caught with drugs, the penalty is death. Australians and Japanese beware!
While the debate on murder laws and homosexuality may be cited as having cultural ties, charges of corruption can harm us internationally. We depend on the international community for tourism and business.
We are already disqualified for concessional loans.
On a point of order, Mas Corey, Genesis 2:15-17 is allegorical. Much evidence of man’s existence thousands of years before Genesis has been found in Africa, the land of our forefathers. Since Genesis, man has gone to the moon and come back; be careful man!
Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]
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