BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday August 16, 2019 – Government is moving to set up a new agency which will partner with the Royal Barbados Police Force, with fighting corruption one of its main areas of focus.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall has disclosed that the new agency will have both law enforcement and investigative powers.
He said a Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Bill will be laid in Parliament on August 30.
“We have long failed to acknowledge that you don’t have to be a policeman to do certain kinds of jobs. We have people who have no interest in policing but they have investigative skills.
“When we want forensic accounting done…we get someone from Ernst and Young or KPMG and ask them to look at corruption to see if there were proper processes in terms of government procurement,” he said.
Noting the new agency would also be given all the tools it needed to conduct its work, Marshall said what officials were seeing in the area of corruption required immediate and expert responses and therefore an agency will be set up to do that.
However, he admitted that to make it possible, Government would require outside assistance to carry out the investigations.
At the same time, the Attorney General stressed that the need for assistance should not be seen as a “dim reflection on the Royal Barbados Police Force”.
He explained the Financial Crimes Intelligence Unit within the RBPF “simply did not have the manpower to deal with it”, as there were only three people tasked with investigating acts of corruption.
Marshall added that corruption now was more sophisticated, and therefore law enforcement personnel needed to draw on skill sets that were not readily available in Barbados to successfully bring a case.
“The idea behind bringing in skills would also be to strengthen the Unit. We can’t keep looking to outside for resources when the problem is we don’t have sufficient resources here. We will bring in resources to the extent that we need to and that process is far advanced.
“Whatever is being done in the way of corruption will be done in tandem with the Royal Barbados Police Force and our local agencies. So that it gives those individuals in the Force the opportunity to learn and to develop new skills,” he pointed out, noting some officers were presently in the United States on a training course related to investigating corruption.