Mon | May 29, 2023

Integrity legislation to be laid in Barbados Parliament next week

Published:Saturday | January 28, 2023 | 4:53 PM
Attorney General of Barbados Dale Dermont Marshall. -CMC photo

The Mia Mottley administration in Barbados says it be bringing the Integrity in Public Life Bill to Parliament next Tuesday.

The government has cautioned that senior government officers and senior judicial officers hired in the future would fall under the legislation approved by Cabinet on Friday.

This was disclosed on Friday by Attorney General Dale Marshall during a post-Cabinet press conference where he pointed out that to impose the change on appointed judges, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Auditor General would be a breach of their constitutional protection.

 Marshall stressed that current constitutional provisions made top judicial officers exempt from the proposed law, but those hired in the future would have to comply with the provisions.

The Attorney General noted that when Trinidad and Tobago sought to subject their judges to integrity legislation, a lawsuit suit was filed and the measure was ruled unconstitutional.

“We've carefully analysed the Trinidadian provisions. Trinidad and Barbados have the same common law heritage and our constitutions are very similar, and it is therefore fair to conclude that such a challenge would be received and supported by our courts, if we sought to make our High Court judges subject to the provisions of the integrity legislation,”  Marshall said.

“We think that we've reached a reasonable compromise. In my view, it would be distinctly unconstitutional … to try to impose these obligations on our current judges, but there's nothing wrong with imposing them on future appointed judges as a condition of their appointment.  And, therefore, the Bill, as Cabinet has approved it, will be laid in Parliament on Tuesday; will obligate future appointed judges, future appointed Directors of Public Prosecutions, future appointed Auditors General because all of those have the same constitutional protection now.”

Marshall said he was satisfied that the “Bill as presented today” would satisfy the requirements of the Senate. He recollected that the first attempt to pass the legislation did not receive the two-thirds majority support in the Senate and the Bill was defeated.  

The current Bill was also tweaked to reflect Barbados' change to Republican status.

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