Conflict of interest is at the heart of the PPP/C pac vote – What a disgrace
What transpired at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Guyana Parliament on Monday 25th June, 2012 constitutes a grave moral and ethical wrong. The APNU in a press statement informed the nation that on the date referred to above the PPP/C used the absence of the AFC member of the committee, Mr. Trevor Williams, to force a vote to ensure that the wife of Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, be appointed the head of the agency responsible for auditing the accounts of those public entities of which her husband, the minister, heads.
Clearly, this situation is a glaring example of conflict of interest and smacks at the moral and ethical considerations which ought to have been called into question in issues of this nature. How can we expect the people to have good regard for the kind of moral and ethical principles which should guide our actions when the those who rise up to lead us disregard these very fundamentals of a civilized society? One needs not be a rocket scientist to figure out that inherent in the arrangement cited above lies the opportunity for collusion; covering up, non transparency; and all the other ills that comes with bad governance.
It is mind-boggling that a government which is engulfed with mismanagement and corruption, as are reported almost daily in the press, would want to openly and knowingly commit acts which would induce even more suspicion from the people regarding its corrupt practices. This is an open act of disrespect and dismissal of the concerns of the people and any government which flaunts such open disregard and contempt for the moral and ethical principles of its people is a government which will lose the confidence, trust and respect of its people.
One would also imagine that the PPP/C would have by now come to the realization that its actions must be temperate and sober, and that it cannot continue to run the business of the people the way it did last time around. The longer they fail to adjust their bullying mannerism and adopt a more collaborative and less iron-fist style of management the longer it will take for there to be any real progress in the nation. However, examining the action of the government, it appears as though the PPP/C can care less about any progress. If this recent rearward step taken at the PAC on Monday was a direct response to the budget cuts I would have to conclude that it appears that the PPP/C have taken a decision to continue as they did for the last twenty years, to unleash the venom of bad-governance on the people.
There is no argument to be advanced in support of the Minister of Finance wife being the auditor of the public entities, such as NICIL, of which her husband manages. These entities are not owned by Ashni Singh and family nor are they owned by the PPP/C party for which the minister or the government could have appointed Ashni Singh’s wife ‘money controller in charge’. Instead they are entities owned by the people of Guyana whose views regarding how they should be audited must be respected and upheld. How can the PPP/C claim to have an interest in tackling rampant corruption in the government when its own actions provide enticing landscapes for potential corrupt activities to flourish, and harbor ingrained suspicion? If the PAC vote on Monday 25th June 2012 does not amount to unconcealed conflict of inflict of interest, tell me what does!
I hope this matter will not end here, and I will close by asking the question where lies the ethical and moral compass of the Minister of Finance and his wife, which one of them will do the decent thing and relieve self from the position, will it be the husband or the wife!