Transparency Institute, Private Sector Commission stress urgency of…Procurement and Integrity Commissions, Ombudsman, Access to Information Act
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) are teaming up to fight corruption.
“The perception of corruption of Guyana is too important to be ignored and negatively impacts on business and investment,”the organizations said in a joint statement yesterday.
They have agreed to collaborate on the appointment of Commissioners for the Public Procurement Commission, and the provision of adequate resources for its effective functioning; the appointment of Commissioners for the Integrity Commission and the provision of adequate resources for its effective functioning; tackling money laundering; the appointment of an Ombudsman; and bringing into operation the Access to Information Act.
“Both parties agreed that as key stakeholders it was important that the PSC and TIGI collaborate their efforts aimed at eradicating corruption in Guyana and meet regularly to discuss progress as well as matters of mutual interest.”
The PSC and TIGI, which is the local contact for Transparency International, met recently at the request of the PSC to discuss the Commission’s concerns about the low ranking of Guyana on Transparency International’s 2012 Annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
Officials of Transparency Institute explained that the Index is global research initiative that ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be and has been credited with putting corruption on the international policy agenda.
The Institute noted that apart from the ranking by Transparency International, Guyana is ranked poorly on corruption in a number of other indices from reputable international organizations.
TIGI presented information on the civil society body, its directors, its mandate, the work it does and intends to do and discussed its 11-point plan for tackling corruption and improving accountability and transparency in Guyana, which was issued in a press release in December announcing the results of the CPI.
The Institute expressed the view that if its proposed plan is implemented, then Guyana’s ranking would surely improve on the Corruption Perceptions Index.
According to the statement by the organisations, the PSC expressed concern about the low ranking that Guyana received and its negative impact on business and investment and that, in its view, it was exaggerated. The PSC expressed further concern that the Index is based on perceptions and not reality, and the methodology used may not be appropriate.
The Institute clarified that absolute levels of corruption are difficult to measure since corruption generally comprises illegal activities, which are deliberately hidden and only come to light through scandals, investigations or prosecutions and that the best available substitute measure is the CPI and has been relied upon by most countries and international institutions as an important guide to assessing levels of corruption in a country.
“Most countries accept the CPI as the best available measure for corruption and readily commit to improving their countries standing,” the organizations stated.
In December, Transparency International ranked Guyana as the most corrupt country in the Caribbean, placing a lowly 133 out of total of 174 countries.
At the time of the release of the CPI Index, the Transparency Institute listed a number of measures that Government will have to implement to raise Guyana’s rankings.
Apart from what it agreed to work with the Private Sector Commission on, the Institute also called for the implementation of whistle-blowing legislation; the enforcement of existing anti-corruption laws by investigating and prosecuting the corrupt and the strengthening of existing anti-corruption institutions such as the Guyana Police Force and the Financial Intelligence Unit established under the money laundering legislation.
“These institutions are weak and unable to counter serious white collar crime and corrupt activities,” the Institute’s President Gino Persaud had said.
TIGI had also called for the strengthening of civil society and for organisations such as the Guyana Bar Association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Private Sector Commission, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Guyana Press Association to become more involved in combating corruption by speaking out against it and being proactive within its own membership on tackling corruption and by partnering with the institute for collective efforts.