Senator raises concerns about Whistleblower Bill’s efficacy

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Senator raises concerns about Whistleblower Bill’s efficacy

Independent Senator Paul Richards has raised concerns regarding the Whistleblower Bill’s efficacy in combating corruption.

Although he stated that he supports the bill, Richards emphasized that while the bill aims to expose corruption, it could inadvertently create new avenues for misconduct.

Richards, speaking in the Senate yesterday, highlighted the troubling collaboration between corrupt individuals within public services, which undermines efforts to combat crime. He stressed the need for legislative creativity and institutional strengthening to eradicate corruption.

“We must be creative and use legislative measures to cut it out,” he stated.

He urged thorough scrutiny of its provisions to ensure its intended effectiveness without overreach.

Richards acknowledged the bill’s requirement for a special majority and warned that it would likely face legal challenges if passed.

The Senator also underscored the failure of existing mechanisms in bringing corrupt public officers to justice, citing non-operational equipment and incidents of deliberate sabotage within Customs and Excise as examples.

“If those mechanisms were working, we wouldn’t be here,” he noted.

Richards also expressed unease with Section 3 of the Judicial and Legal Service Act as amended, which mandates polygraph and other lie-detection tests for law officers. He questioned the ambiguity of “other lie-detecting tests,” calling for clearer definitions.

In response, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds clarified that these could include ID tests, eye scans, and voice stress analysis, aiming to address various forms of deception.

Richards also raised potential vulnerabilities concerning third-party contractors handling sensitive information, particularly within prisons. He pointed out that these contractors are not subjected to the same rigorous testing as public officers, posing a significant risk.

Richards called for robust training and maintenance protocols to ensure the reliability of lie-detection technologies.