By Caribbean News Now contributor
ST JOHN’S, Antigua — Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he plans to discuss with his ministers the possibility of disclosing details of their assets for public scrutiny.
Browne told listeners on local radio that he wants members of his government to do as he has done and tell the public what they own on an annual basis.
Currently, only certain categories of public officials must file reports of their assets with the Integrity in Public Office Commission.
“The question is whether we should not go further to have full public disclosure, so that we publish publicly all our assets and income on an annual basis,” Browne said.
He suggested that the information could be published online for all to see.
“I have gone as far as declaring my income and the amount paid in taxes,” the prime minister said, while acknowledging that “there is no legal requirement for anyone to fully disclose their assets in public.”
“The reason for that is to ensure that we can monitor the assets of politicians in particular,” Browne said.
He said, while there is significant “self-regulation” by his ministers, “I recognize that we have to strengthen the governance framework. Which is a discussion that I will have with my colleagues because I think we have to lead by example and the more information we disclose the better in order to have the public hold us accountable.”
The Antigua and Barbuda leader also called for whistleblower legislation to protect people who reveal wrongdoing in government.