– Party calls for enactment of Whistleblower and Asset Forfeiture Legislation
In wake of the recent statement by PPP/C Executive member, Ralph Ramkarran, in relation to corruption, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) has said that the statement does not go far enough and seeks to downplay the scope of the problems.
In a statement released by the party it was noted that Ramkarran’s pronouncement on the issue of corruption came ‘very late in the day’.
“The suggestion that charges of official corruption have been exaggerated calls into question whether Mr. Ramkarran is really serious about rooting out this problem.”
The WPA said this is an old tactic on the part of offending parties and governments—acknowledge a problem, but deny its pervasiveness.
“WPA is, therefore, swayed in the direction of seeing Mr. Ramkarran’s statement within the context of the PPP’s attempt to mollify the party’s disaffected base and to give a false impression that the party and government are now open to internal criticisms and governance reform.”
The WPA however noted that it would not ignore the fact that Mr. Ramkarran’s statement, and those of Ms. Nadira Jagan-Brancier before him, represent some divisions within the PPP on how to deal with this issue or whether to deal with it at all. Hence, the Party sought the opportunity to reiterate its stance on corruption in high places.
“As a party with a long tradition of anti-corruption agitation, WPA has consistently argued that the scourge of corruption has had a crippling effect on governance and development in Guyana.
It must be noted too that official corruption has not only robbed the national treasury of much needed revenues but it has spawned a culture of corruption at every level of the state and society.
WPA’s co-leader Professor Clive Thomas, in his Sunday column in the Stabroek News has devoted a number of newspaper articles highlighting the merging of corruption with governance in what he describes as the “criminalization of the State” in Guyana under the PPP.”
The Party stated that it fully embraces this thesis and has used its television programme, Walter Rodney Groundings and its organ, Dayclean, to speak out on corruption.
“While corruption has long been a problem, we feel that it has now reached epidemic proportions. Corruption has become systemic and its long and treacherous reach extends to every branch of the Executive Government and society. An important aspect of the contagion results from the example set by the political leaders. The expected response from the public is ‘goat bite me’ even as the disease continues to spread its inexorable tentacles.”
“The unearthing of rackets in several government agencies since the November 2011 elections bears this out. “This problem is highlighted by the situation at the Guyana Revenue Authority, the agency charged with the responsibility for determining and collecting revenues on behalf of the people of Guyana.
That agency is best described as the bastion of corrupt transactions, where favours are bought and paid for with large sums of money and where the big fishes in the various scams escape punishment.”
According to the WPA statement, “it is a well kept secret that in almost every instance those who perpetrate these crimes against the people of Guyana are in some way connected to the ruling party.”
“Because the problem of corruption is so deep-seated, it requires the efforts of a wide network to arrest it. We urge Guyanese with knowledge of and information on corruption to bring them to the attention of their parliamentary representatives and the relevant Civil Society organizations.”
“The WPA calls for the enactment of both ‘Whistleblower Legislation’ and ‘Asset Forfeiture Legislation’. The Police and Judiciary need to be cleansed and strengthened and the Procurement, Integrity and other Commissions ought to be speedily established.”
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