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Well done, Bar Association

by: - June 10, 2014
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I note that the Bar Association of Dominica (BAD) has recently tried to defend the fact that they have joined the Opposition Party in making a mockery of the Integrity in Public Office Commission.

This is evidenced in the nominees that these two bodies have sent to the IPO.

Cynical, unserious, no regard for the intents and purposes of the IPO and the cloak of integrity that it should be wearing, best reflected in the persons who comprise the Commission.

The strength of societies, countries even, has very much to do with the strength of their institutions.

Weak or absent institutions was one reason for the state of virtual collapse that the Haitian society and polity experienced recently, which is why one of the first challenges of the reconstructionists was to build or strengthen the country’s institutions.

Our IPO was supposed to be reflective of our goals and ideals as a society.

The Bar Association of Dominica has the distinction of having helped to cripple from the outset the effectiveness and reputation of this institution.

And they have continued to be allowed to do so by the Government from whom the society has been awaiting for years the promised White Paper that would be the first step in amending a rushed piece of legislation.

Indeed the IPO should not simply be amended but scuttled and started afresh. Let’s be clear what it is we want to accomplish.

Let’s look at the models around us. And let us fashion something that will do the job in an efficacious, simple and cost-effective way.

The country in the Caribbean that has been most successful at stamping out and stopping corruption has been Jamaica, and they do not have an IPO.

What they have is an anti-corruption body. It is worth looking at. Trinidad’s IPO is almost as jokey as ours.

The BAD leaders refer to legislation as if it were the last refuge of the scoundrel – they have acted within the legislation in doing everything they did.

Morality is not an issue; nor is ethics; nor is consistency with the aims and high intentions of the IPO and therefore the kinds of persons who should comprise it.

Assuming that the BAD is led by persons of integrity, it is unconscionable that the MAD would nominate someone to represent such a (prestigious?) body who had less than two years before been an active Opposition politician.

Did the BAD do checks on their nominee? Did they listen to recordings of his speeches? Would they have noted the ad hominem anti-Skerrit venom that they contained?

Did they listen in particular to their nominee’s address to the so-called anti-corruption meeting in Lagon in the heat of the 2009 campaign?

Go listen; and then come back and tell us that you acted within the legislation.

You know you can count on the support of a certain former acting Chief Justice. Is this place really one big joke?

By: Dancea