BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday March 6, 2019 – Within another three to four months, people coming forward with tips and willing to give evidence of crimes and corrupt acts will be protected by legislation.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, made that disclosure while giving support to the Crime Stoppers Barbados’ Integrity Line, a dedicated whistle blower hotline for employees to anonymously report white-collar crime and other wrongdoing in their workplaces.
“Your hotline will shortly be bolstered by the enactment of whistle blower legislation in Barbados….That legislation would seek to protect and encourage citizens who are aware of corrupt practices to come forward and expose them,” Marshall said at a cocktail reception to mark Crime Stoppers’ 10th anniversary.
The Attorney General said the organization has played a pivotal role in pointing law enforcement agencies in the right direction as it relates to crime. But he stressed that evidence was needed to support the tips received.
“A tip is one thing. A tip may point you to where you need to get. What often defeats us is finding an individual who is willing to come forward and say ‘I was party to this corrupt act, [or] I have evidence of this corrupt act’,” he pointed out. “Often that individual, by being a party, would be exposing him or herself to personal culpability.”
The Attorney General also suggested that the Public Interest Disclosure legislation would, therefore, be an “important arsenal” in trying to move the public away from the attitude of not wanting to tell because they feared reprisal or being fired.
“With your Integrity Line and our…legislation, I hope we can connect the dots more effectively and help to root out corruption in our society,” Marshall said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce, stressed that information was the bedrock of policing and the Royal Barbados Police Force had established several avenues for people to provide information to lawmen.
Despite that, he said, people were still uncomfortable sharing information with police and remained guarded because divulging certain aspects of that information would reveal the source.
He commended the efforts of Crime Stoppers, noting that they had produced 2,500 tips for police over the last 10 years, ranging from homicide to nuisance activities such as people burning fire or playing in restricted areas.
“The value of Crime Stoppers to us cannot be measured. Every day, we see activity that requires information, even if it is information that is just on the tip of a particular investigation,” Boyce said.