Vexed Bermoothes

Blustery Opinions From Bermuda

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Anti-Corruption Law Update

June 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Accountability, Bermuda Politics, Reform

The Bermuda Parliament looks busy.  But truth is, in my opinion, it’s not very productive.  They appear to prefer holding catfights than actually moving a well-planned legislative agenda.  It’s all about the “circus of the day”.

And exercise financial oversight over public expenditures?  Well.  The facts speak for themselves:  $1,000,000,000 in the hole and rising fast.

Bermuda has had some interesting ethics situations over the past decade … and our laws are ill-suited to deal with them.  I posted on the subject in 2009 twice and in 2010.

Guess what?  Nothing has happened still. It’s not even on the agenda.

Bermuda cultivates “grey areas” in our laws in the hope they lead to flexibility.  But the flip side is that those grey areas can create uncertainty or breed favouritism which is hated by citizens and business alike … and may feed the “unethical but not illegal” situations that challenge our public life.

The OECD and international transparency groups have been pushing the UK to make sure the Overseas Territories adopt the international conventions against bribery.  And our once-rivals, the Cayman Islands moved quickly  to pass and implement their own anti-corruption law.

Now the new UK Bribery Act kicks into gear in July.  Here’ some interesting tidbits:

  • Any company that has a UK office, employs UK citizens, or provides any services to a UK organisation will be subject to the act.
  • The UK also claims jurisdiction over offenses committed by British Overseas Territories citizens even if conducted outside the UK.

What have the Brits done for us lately?  LOL, apparently doing the job our own Parliament is too fat and complacent to bother with!

Bermuda should introduce its own law as a priority.  And it is should implement it (unlike PATI, which a year after passage is mouldering unimplemented in some civil service backwater).

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