Bahamas PM Lays Out Code of Ethics For New Government

Wasting no time, the returned Bahamas PM has laid out seven ethical principles for his new government.

Prime Minister Ingraham's seven ethical principles are:

i) All ministers are required to carry out their responsibilities solely on the basis of the public interest, and not to do so to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family members of their friends.

ii) Integrity - not to place themselves under any financial obligations of individuals or organizations that might compromise them in the performance of their official duties.

iii) Objectivity - in the conduct of public business including making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for awards and benefits, they should make choices on merit and not based on politics.

iv) Accountability - be accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and they must subdue themselves to scrutiny appropriate to their offices.

v) Openness - they are required to be open about all decisions and actions that they take, give reasons for their positions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

vi) Honesty - have an obligation to declare any private interest related to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflict in able to protect the public interest, and finally...

vii) promote and support these principles by leadership and by example.

Every health profession has a code of ethics, and so do the legal and other professions. It is appropriate and healthy for the government to lay out such principles and to use them both as a goalpost for future conduct, and as a yardstick against which official conduct can be measured.

Now it remains for persons to implement these principles and to abide by them in integrity.

In his acceptance speech the eve after elections, PM Ingraham gave very brief remarks, during which he said that his administration would be characterized by respect for rule of law. Certainly implementing an ethical code in the first week of office can only help further put officials on a positive course of stewardship, and curb perceptions of impropriety as well as foster appropriate conduct.

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Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to acupuncturists), solo entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational and health care institutions.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, which follows Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen is licensed has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C., and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing).
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