Bahamas yet to pass integrity act

The Bahamas should establish a code of ethics for all parliamentarians and sanction mechanisms for violations, according to the report of the Committee of Experts in the Fourth Round of the Mechanism for follow-up on implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC).

The Committee of Experts issued the report at its 25th meeting from March 16 to 20 in Washington, DC.

The 107-page report is a comprehensive review of The Bahamas’ implementation of recommendations made in 2005 that seek to establish “oversight bodies, with a view to implementing modern mechanisms for preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating corrupt acts.”

The Bahamas is among 28 countries reviewed.

Provisions of proper conduct for ministers and parliamentary secretaries are outlined in the “Manual of Cabinet and Ministry Procedure” and in the “Code of Ethics for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries.”

In its 2013 report, the committee took note of the government’s intention to introduce Integrity in Public Life Act, which was designated for all parliamentarians, heads of government boards and senior civil servants “to induce higher levels of accountability and transparency, so as to discourage corruption and ethical impropriety in public life.”

”But it has not been given statutory effect,” the committee said.

“As such, since the bill has not been passed, there are no rules of conduct for senators or members of the House of Assembly,” it noted.

The committee encouraged the ongoing review and enhancement of provisions regulating public officials to prevent and punish improper conduct.

The committee also recommended an anti-corruption unit be established within the Royal Bahamas Police Force to investigate reports and allegations of corruption against government officials and public servants.

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