There is a distinct possibility that Guyana may, within the next few years, become the economic hub of the Caribbean. However, it is possible that despite such lofty status, the country may still have a hard time getting reputable contractors to execute certain infrastructural developments. This will be the case if Guyana does not pull up its proverbial socks and really attack corruption and keep it at bay.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently told Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, that serious contractors have reservations of coming to work in Guyana because of the perception of corruption. Jordan revealed this at a press conference he held on Monday.
He said that he told a Senior Vice President of the IDB that Guyana has not been able to attract international contractors. “Her response was that she understood but we should be aware that Guyana is still looked upon as a very corrupt country. Those were her exact words. She said that these contractors, given their reputation, are very afraid of being tainted so they do not come.”
Jordan said that the problem is not only with attracting international contractors. He said that Guyana has even been making slow progress in attracting regional contractors.
“When you look at even regional contractors, outside of two from Trinidad and somebody out of Jamaica that is doing the West Coast Demerara Road, I do not know that we have been able to attract serious contractors.”
Jordan said that he cannot say, for sure, that it is the perception of corruption that is deterring the regional contractors, “But she did identify that when it comes to the international contractors, they may be afraid of Guyana because of the perception of corruption in the country.”
Jordan was keen not to take blame for the high perception of corruption in Guyana. He said that it is something that dates back to the time of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) administration.
“I do not believe that that perception was built over the last two years. It is one that we inherited in 2015 and we are working assiduously to remove that.”
Jordan said that the IDB has been seeing the efforts being made by the APNU+AFC administration to address corruption.
He said, “She did ask us to continue working on improving transparency and accountability. So in a back hand way, we did get some kudos for the work that we are doing to try to get rid of this whole business of corruption in Guyana.”
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