Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We call for Whistleblower and Anti Corruption Legislation

Alvarez says “a system lacking effective vigilance over corruption and malpractice is one we cannot have faith in”

“We should support not punish Whistleblowers,” says GGR

Equality Rights Group GGR Chairman, Felix Alvarez, has today called on the Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano and PDP Leader Keith Azopardi to make public commitments to the introduction of legislation to support Whistleblower and anti-corruption vigilance.

“I am happy to work closely with political leaders to look at possible statutory measures for adoption. The present Criminal Offences Act handling of corruption issues is no longer sufficient, and certainly the role of whistleblowers is an important extra that democratic societies today are building into their laws,” Alvarez said.

“Citizenship in Democracy is the slogan I work to as Chairman of this Organisation, and with the merest suspicion of corruption or malpractice goes a loss in ordinary people’s faith in politicians and in the system in general. Today, Gibraltar is no longer the small town society it used to be. It is a place awash with investment and project money. It is a country ever more complex. And without measures which restore faith in politicians and officials, it is difficult for the ordinary citizen to believe that there is an even playing field, an equality of opportunity, and a clean slate with regard to institutional even-handedness and non-abuse as well as transparency in the handling of capital and commercial opportunities,” he said.

“Corruption and malpractice occurs in every country, whether rich or poor, developed or not. In many of the most advanced nations, and in some of the most powerful international institutions this has been so emphatically recognised that clear and open measures have been adopted to combat corruption and protect whistleblowers. Acknowledgment of the reality of corruption is therefore the first important step we must all take.

“As things stand today in Gibraltar, those people who have the moral courage to stand up to denounce irregular practices cannot rely on official protection for the service of vigilance they offer society at large. Instead, they face the very real possibility of themselves becoming victims. They can lose their jobs, face long years of difficult and expensive court trials, and endure crippling suffering and loss to themselves and their loved ones. This is a huge injustice when, in fact, as a society we should be grateful to these people for acting with a conscience in the service of us all.