by Mike Campbell
Practicing attorneys have had control of both political parties and all governments since Said Musa became Prime Minister and this trend seems unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. Attorneys are well versed in the law and operate under a supposedly rigorous regime of integrity, self-responsibility and respect for the law while serving as officers of the court. They should have the moral fortitude necessary to remain honest and lead the country by showing by their respect for law and our democratic processes. The sad fact is that over the last fourteen years we have had a Senior Counsel as Prime Minister and during this time our international reputation for integrity and honest government that respects the law has slumped to where we have one of the worst reputations for corruption in the world and it has crippled our ability to attract foreign investment.
To believe that this is the product of the Barrow administration is very short sighted. It is the ultimate outcome in an on going saga of changing or disregarding the law when it does not suit your needs. The Common Man reads a law and tries to comply. An attorney is trained to read the law and seek out the interpretations that favor his position and would never raise a point of law that was in favor of the opposing side, as they are required to make their own case. Attorney’s role as advocate leads all to want to know whom they are working for. Attorneys are very necessary in society and this is not meant as an indictment against attorneys, simply a comment on their education and training. As to what relationship exists between this and their performance in office is left for the reader to decide.
The most baffling part of this is the attorneys’ refusal to comply with our anti -corruption laws. For many years it has been law for all elected officials including Town and Village Councilors to give an annual financial statement so that the public can see that they are not enriching themselves from their office. Arguably many Town and Village Councilors and mayors and some Representatives are not aware of this law that provides for a $10,000 fine and or imprisonment for failure to comply. It is unthinkable that the attorneys and Senior Counsels that lead the parties do not know what they are doing and condoning is against the law. Possibly they from their vantage point do not realize that this has and is destroying our international credibility. The problem was there when the UDP took over and they promised to deal with it and they did not. As a result the international community has more or less bailed out and are unlikely to return until we deal with corruption in our government that is lead by attorneys at law. How could anyone in their right mind invest in a country where law is not even respected by the attorneys or the government, which are one and the same in many cases?
The current financial dilemma has deep roots in the financial policies that were formulated by attorneys and practiced for the last fourteen years. We followed the American model of spending and borrowing and counting on an expanding economy to pay the bills. Like the US we did nothing with the money we spent to enhance our productive capacities and now find ourselves in a pickle. The financial policies of and the levels of corruption in both parties have been so disastrous as to cause the demise of the PUP government and came close to toppling the UDP government. Combined with the lack of integrity on the part of public officials we have made ourselves very unattractive to the foreign investor. The learned counsels that lead our country have destroyed our international reputation as is noted by the international community and only they can restore it.