-TIGI Head says accountability needed for billions squandered
Head of Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI), Dr. Troy Thomas believes that there has been too much impunity for corruption. According to the University Lecturer, accountability is needed for the billions squandered
over the years on projects which are of no use today.
His invited comments came in wake of an article that was previously carried by Kaieteur News which showcased just some of the ways in which taxpayers’ money was wasted over the years. Some of these projects include the controversial Fibre Optic Cable and the Skeldon Sugar Factory.
With this premise in mind, Dr. Thomas sought to outline from the start that those moneys which would have been spent or borrowed for projects in some cases, do not belong to government officials.
“They aren’t the ones who would be repaying it. And that means any decisions that they make that would involve tax dollars or taxpayers repaying loans in the future, they need to be accountable for it.”
The TIGI Head continued, “Anytime a project basically goes to waste or you invest in something that does not deliver on the promise that the project had, then it represents a waste of tax dollars and that is a serious issue.”
Dr. Thomas added, “I think people need to be held accountable and when we start holding people accountable, people will start to be more careful about the decisions that they make. If there is no accountability then nobody feels responsible for this.”
The University lecturer also alluded to the point that in the absence of accountability, some would feel that “the money is there so they can squander it.”
Dr. Thomas said that if corruption is involved, that is another issue as well.
In this regard, he commented, “We have had too much impunity for corruption. And that is why I think to a large extent it has continued unabated or it has been so rampant in the past. I mean if you think of the position that Guyana has had on the (Transparency International) Corruption Perceptions Index, it seems clear that there is rampant corruption. Yet, we have not seen people, especially in high positions, being sanctioned, considering the frequency with which things would have occurred.”
Dr. Thomas said that since the change in government there have been a few cases as it relates to addressing corruption. He noted, however, that it is a small number, considering the list of things which would have been pointed out in the forensic audit reports.
He acknowledged however that the forensic audit reports are “a different standard of evidence” or a “different standard of proof” compared to what would be required in court.
“Nevertheless, we have to find ways of dealing with that. People need to be held accountable. And it does not matter for the citizens at large, which political party you support. If you support the party in power then you have to hold them accountable. There is no political party—and this is my view— that is out there to do what is best for me. I believe that they will do what is best for me if I am vigilant and if I press for it to happen,” Dr Thomas stressed.
He continued, “There needs to be accountability and part of that is for people to face whatever penalties are in place whenever they do things like that; because the taxpayers have to pick up the pieces at the end of the day.”
Dr Thomas added, “Somewhere down the line, you may have a child, and that child may have a child and what do you know? That child that your child had is still repaying for the mistakes that were made while you were around as a young person.”
With this in mind, Dr. Thomas implored that it is imperative for one to look at the repercussions and how deep they can go.
“We cannot allow politicians to play with our future and that part of it where they do these things and they get away without facing the consequences, that part is hurtful.”
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