Most Guyanese by now have been convinced, by some revelation or other, that they are living in a corrupt society where most of the major institutions are woefully corrupt. There are some institutions that fare better than others in terms of corruption, but in the view of the man-in-the-street, the overwhelming consensus is that many individuals responsible for large financial undertakings are choking with the gains of corruption, which has become a norm in society.
Corruption is all around us; it is endemic and it is a major concern. Many of us have concluded that it near impossible to totally eradicate it. Corruption seems to be the fuel of the nation. A corrupt mindset is embedded in almost every level of society, from those who offer bribes for favors that they would not have obtained under normal circumstances to those public officials who will accept the bribes to fast-track or give consent to a decision on behalf of those who pay the bribes.
The familiar mantra from vote-seeking politicians is that if elected to office, they would stamp out corruption which they stress, continues to stifle the nation’s economic growth and prosperity. As purportedly the major beneficiary of corruption in the country, the last political directorate did not put in place the necessary measures to curb this scourge.
Two years ago, the APNU+AFC coalition came to office with the promise to put in place laws to stamp out corruption and although such laws have been passed, corruption continues unabated because some still find ways to beat the system and there is not much the government can do.
While many have accused the last administration of corruption, they also believe that the beneficiaries of the largesse that flows from corruption are still at the senior levels. The people have had enough platitudes from various administrations in the past regarding their attempts to reduce corruption; now they want to see results.
The government cannot end or fully reduce corruption by itself. It needs help from the public and all stakeholders to substantially reduce corruption and severely punish those found culpable of corrupt practices. While it is in the interest of the government to robustly fight corruption, it is the opinion of many that the administration is just giving lip service to it. We are living in a country that is perennially compromised by rampant dishonesty.
For over a decade, corruption became entrenched in our culture and society, it was actually instituted in the country as a way of governance during the tenure prior to the last election. The current government seems to be setting its own time table and is moving slowly to get there. However, there are few complaints about corruption in this administration, because it seems that no one is listening or are turning a blind eye to it.
When in opposition, the APNU+AFC coalition’s parties complained bitterly about corruption and were very passionate about wiping it out. But now in office, they seem to have lost their fearless zeal to even speak out against corruption because they have realized that it is even more widespread than they could have imagined.
Further, there appears to be a weakening of the safeguards to prevent the political interference and manipulation of prosecutorial authority which is vested with the power to act against offenders of corruption. The government will stand tall if it ensures that these officials are following the laws and duly prosecute those who are found culpable. Allowing them to do their jobs independently and without political interference is not enough. The last administration did nothing about corruption. It maybe was too rewarding.
Corruption is an evil that will sink the country.
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