Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie has warned residents that when the Whistleblower Act becomes law, persons will be punished for bringing forward baseless complaints to the authorities.
The long-awaited Bill had its first reading during the ongoing House of Assembly.
“This is a whistleblower act, and although we will explain its provisions in the second and third reading, this allows any public officer or even in the private to be able to report it and not be penalized by the employer.”
He continued: “As a matter of fact, there is a reward for the person if the information that they have brought to the officials is of worth, but there is also a penalty for the person if they have brought information that has no basis or no evidence. It allows you now in the organization to be able to flag anything that is deemed to be not above board, but the system allows the due process to allow to see if the complaint is so or not.”
The territory’s leader said it was time that these types of legislation is implemented in the territory.
However, he made it clear that the introduction of the bill had no outside influence.
“We have done this on our own; we have not been asked to do so, we have not been forced to do so, we have not been instructed to do so, we have not been coerced to do so. This government is doing so because of the promises it made during the campaign and since in office,” he remarked.
He said the Act got delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.
He explained: “We had challenges bringing it forward because of the need, emphasis and attention that the Attorney General’s Office had to play to a lot of health acts and amendments etc. to help us combat COVID
A whistleblower is defined as someone in the public service or otherwise who reports wrongdoing of their superiors, and there have been numerous calls for it to become law.
Notably, this legislation was promised by this VIP government weeks before taking office in 2019.