“Can’t Buy Me Love… Or Can I?”
Today the Commission had a golden opportunity to advance reforms to the IWC, beginning with the lowest-hanging fruit: prohibiting cash payments of IWC fees, and instead requiring bank transfers. This was a very important reform to adopt, not only for pragmatic purposes of financial transparency and accountability, but also symbolically. The perception of IWC is that the organization is rife with corruption and plagued by vote-buying scandals. So what better way to address that issue head-on than by eliminating the cash option altogether? As one colleague so aptly stated, “If you were a government employee, you wouldn’t pay a $10,000 contract with a stack of cash in small bills, would you?”
It makes a lot of sense to start with the lowest common denominator point of reform on which consensus can be reached, right? Not so fast!…This is, after all, IWC.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Togo, Ghana, and Nauru objected to proposals to increase financial transparency by prohibiting IWC fee payments with cash.
Can you believe it? Well, of course you can, if you recognize these countries as being on the payroll of the Japanese Government. Did I say that?… I meant, IWC nations belonging to the “Sustainable Use Group”.
I would like to suggest to commissioners of the so-called “Sustainable Use Group” for whom payment of IWC fees is a challenge that they adopt a strategy that many NGOs employ to cover their IWC fees – hold a fundraiser. The American Cetacean Society is in attendance this year because I ran 50 miles to raise the necessary funds for the privilege of being here.
I rather like the idea of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation holding a bake sale… corruption cupcakes, anyone?