The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) had an opportunity to weigh in on the discussion about Integrity in Public Life and the need for greater transparency and integrity within Barbados.
The Breakfast event hosted by BCCI in collaboration with Integrity Group Barbados and sponsored by Emera Caribbean & Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd, brought attention to the need to move towards good governance and reduce corruption, not only at the government level but across the business community.
In setting the tone for the event, BCCI President, Mrs. Trisha Tannis stated that whilst Barbados holds the distinction of being the most transparent country in the Caribbean
and ranks favorably amongst the America’s being the 4th least corrupt jurisdiction in that grouping, there was still a cause for concern. She highlighted that according to the Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International in the period between 2010 and 2018 Barbados’s corruption index deteriorated from 78/100 to 68/100 and its ranking dropped from the 17th least corrupt country to the 25th during the same period.
“We should benchmark ourselves against the best in class such as Denmark which has consistently been ranked the least corrupt country on record” urged Mrs. Tannis. She added that integrity in public life is key to fighting against corruption and this is where Denmark takes the lead; noting that their consistency at the top of the league is vastly due to a high degree of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent judicial systems.
In her summary of the perceived effects of corruption on civil society as well as the private sector, the President proudly stated that the position of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry is one of zero tolerance, not relative acceptance and welcomed the enactment of the proposed legislation. She called for the promotion of standardization and transparency of processes and protocols and the elimination of institutionalized corruption wherever it is found.
“Of course, it would be hypocritical of the Chamber to add its voice to the call for integrity in public affairs without requiring the same standard of the members of the private sector.” Mrs. Tannis highlighted the BCCI’s Code of Ethics, how and why it is used. She urged all members of the private sector, whether members of the Chamber or not, to implement similar ethical measures to promote integrity in their businesses.
Mrs. Tannis’ speech delivered at the BCCI Breakfast Discussion – Guided by Integrity can be accessed by clicking here.