The Hon. Perry G. Christie, M.P.
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
This past Wednesday in the House of Assembly, Prime Minister Christie tabled a Code of Ethics for government ministers. It is anticipated that the Government will soon introduce legislation relating to Integrity and Public Life.
Ministerial service is to be regarded as a full-time calling, and under the Code of Ethics Ministers are required to discontinue all private work on assumption of office. Additionally, they must resign from any other public office or as director and/or officer of any public or private companies or associations. Contractual relationships with government must be terminated, with interest in any company holding such contractual relationships divested or, as appropriate, placed in a blind trust.
Ministers will be considered to have “flagrantly breached” the Code of Ethics if insider information is used to make speculative investments or obtain any advantage from such and, in general, are required to avoid any form of “ethically improper behaviour”.
Describing the code as “absolutely essential to ministerial service with integrity,” the Prime Minister said if public confidence in the integrity of the political directorate of The Bahamas is to become a hallmark of the political culture, it is of the first importance that the Prime Minister and other Ministers of Government observe the highest standards of probity in public life.
The introduction of the Government Code of Ethics was in line with a campaign pledge of the governing Progressive Liberal Party. The PLP came into power following the May 2 General Elections in which it defeated the then-governing Free National Movement (FNM) party.