The Bahamas has been faced with quite a number of challenges regarding the ethics and integrity of persons holding public office and other influential posts whether it be in the public or private sectors. Some persons have embarrassed our country internationally and for the most part have gone unpunished. We are truly sending the wrong messages here nationally and in the international arena. It bothers me to hear some Bahamian politicians referred to as morally bankrupt. Which ever way the cards fall, this perception or truth must be addressed before the Bahamas becomes a lawless society with no accountability.
Under the office of the Prime Minister, The Directorate of Ethics and Integrity should be established and given responsibility for the formulation coordination, promotion and implementation of a national anti-corruption policy. This action if undertaken will provide a much needed political voice for any government’s anti corruption agenda with a mandate to:
1). To create awareness on the need for ethical behavior and integrity in public office.
2). Enhance ethical standards in public service organizations and in the wider community/society.
3). To build trust worthy coalitions with civil society to promote and enhance ethics and integrity.
4). To work with government anticorruption agencies to promote an anti-corruption agenda.
5). Development and promotion of professional codes of conduct for public and private institutions.
6). Development and promotion of client charters to encourage the public to demand greater accountability of service providers.
7). Mainstreaming ethics in local government.
8). Creation of a curriculum/training manual for ethical decision making.
9). Building coalition with NGO’s and other organizations here in the Bahamas to promote and enhance ethics and integrity.
10). Development of National Values to encourage national debate and action to promote a national integrity movement.
11). Review update and amend existing anti-corruption legislation
12). Initiate and recommend regulatory and legal measures to be adopted in the fight against corruption.
13). Contribute to the process by which The Bahamas meets its obligations under international anti-corruption conventions.
14). Handle cases of individual complaints of corruption and pass such information to the appropriate authorities.
In keeping with the FNM’s election motto, “A Matter of Trust” I trust that this request would be taken seriously. The Bahamian people now truly realize that we are the ones who can hold our governments feet gripped firmly by the ankles and demand accountability.
This very platform has been adopted by various African nations and has since proven quite effective. Given the present climate of deceit and over whelming distrust in both government and private sectors, I am now challenging this administration to do the same. Our country’s reputation is at stake like never before.