Former President Donald Ramotar believes that his successor, President David Granger, has not taken a sincere stance when it comes to fighting corruption in Guyana.
In an interview with Kaieteur News, the PPP Executive Member said that Granger was quite aggressive in the case of the forensic audits which implicated officials of the past. But the flipside to that picture, he said, sees the President being less than enthusiastic about stamping out corruption in his own camp.
Ramotar said that he has also seen reluctance on the part of the Head of State to hold his own officials accountable for failing to address corruption in all its forms in a swift manner.
Ramotar said, “When you walk the streets, there is the perception out there that corruption itself has taken over the government already. Surely Granger must be seeing what the Guyanese people are seeing when it comes to his own issues. I would not venture into all their corruption scandals but there is still great suspicion surrounding the controversial bond deal and the mysterious trip Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, made to China.”
The former President continued, “Moving George Norton from the Ministry of Public Health to Social Cohesion does not change what he did with the controversial bond deal. It is a travesty and it must be rescinded.
“In the case of the Harmon trip, the nation is yet to see the documents which he brought back from his trip. Questions remain unanswered. Granger has not been as stern as he should have been on these two issues to say the least. Both cases only show that there seems to be a lack of any enthusiasm in going after corruption in his government.”
The politician added, “Significant, too, is that in the face of all this, Granger still wants the nation to believe that he is wholeheartedly interested in taking down corruption. If you want to be convincing then you cannot be indifferent; you cannot be afraid to ‘crack the whip’ when your own are faced with allegations of corruption.”
Ramotar opined that in Granger’s ambition to be the “Champion of anti-corruption”, he must pursue the fight ahead without fear or favour for anyone.
In spite of Ramotar’s views, the Alliance For Change (AFC) insists that in a period of 20 months, the coalition administration has been able to put a “significant dent” in corruption.
At the level of ministries and other government agencies, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, was the first to contend that there have been meaningful improvements in the fight against corruption.
Speaking for his Ministry, Patterson said he had the “good fortune” to be in charge of an area that is susceptible to fraud. And within 18 months, the General Secretary of the AFC was proud to disclose that the opportunities for corruption to occur have been reduced considerably. While no one can claim that corruption has been eliminated altogether, the Public Infrastructure Minister stated that moves have been made to get the process started.
The AFC General Secretary also stated that every report of wrong doing in his field or against his staff is always investigated without fear or favour.
At the level of state, Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan believes that there have been major improvements in the fight against corruption. He pointed to the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.
The Minister of Public Security expressed, “We have done what everyone should be proud of when it comes to ensuring that this big anti-corruption institution called the Public Procurement Commission came into being in the second year of our being in office. It took how long for us to get it? Almost a whole decade and more and this is in spite of the fact that the Constitution made provision for it.”
The AFC Leader also chided the previous Cabinet that was run by the PPP for such a constitutional office not being established. He said that it was the Cabinet of former President Bharrat Jagdeo that set the tone for all other cabinets under the PPP to never give up that no-objection role in the public procurement process.
He said, “We have been clamouring for that while in opposition…And having it today is a far, far, cry from what we have come from…”
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