Aug 18, 2017 News
By Abena Rockcliffe- Campbell
Transparency remains a key component of good governance. That key principle should be used as a guiding light in all of any governments’ engagements, says United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn.
Quinn hosted a press conference at his residence yesterday, and at that forum, the envoy spoke to issues surrounding Constitutional Reform, gender quality, Brexit, Security Sector Reform and Guyana’s developing oil and gas industry.
Quinn was questioned as to whether he feels Guyanese should be benefitting from a higher level of transparency within its embryonic oil and gas industry. Being true to his profession, Quinn avoided giving a yes or no answer. He said, “I will give a top level response to that question. Governments should be as transparent with their public as much as possible, across the board.”
He continued, “There are certain issues where there will always be restrictions, but those should be kept at the very minimum. The goal of any government should be transparency, as much as possible.”
This is not the first time the UK High Commissioner made his country’s stance on transparency known.
In 2016, Quinn said that the fact that the media is having a hard time getting hold of contracts and concession agreements signed by public officials—both past and present—is a source of discomfort to him. The High Commissioner’s position is that unless the disclosure of a signed contract would compromise national security, it should be made public.
Quinn has told Kaieteur News that the demand for transparency should be met by any government worth its salt. He said, “Transparency is fundamental. It is at the core of everything that is good in governance, as happens in the UK.”
Yesterday, Quinn told the media that he is heartened by the fact that the government is cognizant of its responsibility to put relevant legislation in place in order to get Guyana ready for oil and gas.
Quinn said, “I see there is a movement to do legislation.”
He highlighted parts of that movement to be the effort to pass the Petroleum Commission Bill, ongoing work being done to set a Sovereign Wealth Fund policy, and the development of a draft Local Content Policy.
“So these things are moving forward, and these are important things that need to be resolved as soon as possible. I think there is an urgency around the legislation to make sure that Guyana as a government is able to oversee and manage what is coming down the line in two and a half years.”
Quinn said that he is confident that the government understands that legislation is urgent, “but there is still a need to consult. A legislation may need to go through quickly, but it also needs to go through having been the subject of consultation with as wide a group of stakeholders as possible.”
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