Saturday, May 21, 2011

Talk of transparency

There has been a lot of talk of transparency in the programmes for the political parties this time around. However, as I understand it, transparency is not a gift for them to give, it is an obligation that they have to fulfil.

Following allegations in a number of towns throughout Spain of corruption at local council level, the Government have tried to prevent any further cases from occurring.

A decree published by the Ministry for Solidarity and Citizenship, November 24th, 2010, stipulated that local officials and non-elected members of local governing boards have an obligation to make statement on grounds of incompatibility any activity that provided or could provide income as well as an obligation to declare their assets and property rights. The decree required them to do so within three months of taking or leaving office as well as annually during the first quarter of each year.

According to the Official Provincial Bulletin in Alicante, 13 of the 27 municipalities in the Vega Baja region have chosen to ignore this directive. And of those that have complied, many have not provided all the information required: source of income, details of real estate, bank deposits, insurance policies, vehicles, boats, artwork, credits, loans etc. They have just simply stated the total of their income rather than where that that income came from.

I can’t say whether the Councillors and local officers in Bigastro have provided all of this information or not. If they haven’t then hopefully their promises of transparency will mean that they will do so once the election is over!

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