Despite its passage into law, Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams has said that the Government lacks the finances needed to fully implement the whistleblower and cybercrime legislation.
The two pieces of legislation are essential among a number of anti-corruption laws recently passed.
The whistleblower law is designed to combat corruption and other wrongdoing by encouraging and facilitating disclosures of improper conduct in the public and private sectors.
And the cybercrime law was enacted to guard against pornography, child luring, cyber-bullying and identity theft.
During a meeting with the press last Monday, Williams disclosed that Government has been unable to secure funding to fully implement these laws.
He noted, however, that persons still have requisite protection under the laws.
“They could blow the whistle, they have normal protection under the law, and anyone who wants to blow the whistle, feel free to come forward and blow the whistle,” Williams stated.
The AG noted that the government is exploring funding options for implementing the cybercrime legislation. He said the IDB was approached about funding in this regard for the training of police officers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges, however, because of donor fatigue suffered under the previous regime; the IDB was unable to provide funding.
So far, only officers of the Guyana Police Force have been exposed to training in combating cybercrime legislation.
Meanwhile, whistleblower protection law which was passed earlier this year provides for the formulation of a commission to act as the governing body.
Formerly the “Protected Disclosures Bill”, the whistleblower law makes provisions for the establishment of a Protected Disclosures Commission, which would be tasked with receiving, investigating and dealing with disclosures of “improper conduct.”
The law encourages and facilitates the making by employees of specified disclosures of improper conduct in good faith and in the public interest; to regulate the receiving, investigating or otherwise dealing with disclosures of improper conduct; and to protect employees who make specified disclosures from being subjected to occupational detriment.
The implementation of the legislation marks full compliance with the Inter-American Convention against Corruption that came into effect in 1996, and to which Guyana is a signatory.
The convention requires member states to consider creating, maintaining and strengthening the system to protect public servants and private citizens who in good faith report acts of corruption to the relevant authorities.
The law contains six parts: Preliminary; Disclosures qualifying for protection; Provisions against occupational detriment; Receiving, investigating and otherwise dealing with disclosures; Oversight functions; and Miscellaneous.
It speaks to disclosures qualifying for protection and to whom disclosures can be made.
Under the whistleblower law, disclosures made by an employee to an employer qualify for protection if it is made to the employer where no procedure is in place for making disclosures.
The law stipulates that disclosures can be made to a Minister, the Auditor General; Bank of Guyana; Guyana National Bureau of Standards; Rights of Child Commission; Commissioner of Police; Public Procurement Commission; Director of Public Prosecutions; Guyana Elections Commission; Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission; Integrity Commission; Guyana Revenue Authority; Environmental Protection Agency; Public Utilities Commission; and the Ombudsman.
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