Government corruption is a major problem in many countries worldwide. Governments who allow and engage in this practise essentially guarantee their citizens a miserable, fearful, or violent existence. An examination of Government corruption shows that it is normally started by politicians and senior civil servants, and then becomes practised by companies and employees.
Once Government officials agree to receive bribes, then those businesses that normally do business with government, must either participate in the practise of paying bribes, or they may not survive.
Once a business has crossed that moral threshold of paying bribes, then they will likely demand that bribes be paid by those who wish to do business with them. So the small service provider is forced to cross this critical threshold as well, and participate in this demoralizing practise.
Eventually, the cost of consumer goods and services will increase. Consumers must therefore supplement their income in order to pay for goods and services. Therefore, individual employees will likely demand that bribes be paid in order to give priority to specific work assignments.
The unemployed must therefore resort to violent robbery in order to obtain money to pay for all of the bribes, and responsible persons who do not participate in the corrupt practises will likely become destitute.
Government corruption is therefore started by short sighted politicians who have not learned from places like Nigeria. Therefore in order to survive, every person must participate in the national culture of corruption.
Fighting Government corruption has become a principal concern among international funding institutions. Many countries have enacted legislation to attempt to address this problem. Both of our political parties have promised to introduce legislation in order to address corruption. This is a good first step; however, the risk of it being an ineffective first step in Barbados is extremely high.
Effectively fighting Government corruption is, inter alia, dependent upon the cooperation of a senior civil servant who is aware of the practise, but who fears persecution. Therefore, legislation to fight corruption will likely be ineffective if there is not adequate protection and incentive for those who are in a position to report corruption.It is therefore critical that Whistleblower or Disclosure Protection legislation is enacted at the same time, otherwise the problem of corruption will remain despite the proclamation of corruption fighting legislation.
Disclosure Protection legislation should include the following minimum provisions.
1. A reward of 10% of any bribery money confiscated as a result of reporting a claim of corruption.
2. A penalty equivalent to the amount of the expected reward for any fraudulent report.
3. A compensation of 10 years salary to be paid by the employer for unfair dismissal resulting from reporting a legitimate claim.
In my opinion, our political parties are interested in protecting us from the potential culture of corruption described above if they enact effective Disclosure Protection legislation.