The Integrity Commission is in a bind: its world keeps extending, yet its back remains attached to the wall immovably and somewhat helplessly.
Here it is that that the Integrity Commission is reaching out through a wider net cast: SARA, SOCU, the Guyana Police Force, and the Energy Department. That is a solid extension of what has already been started. Commendable, and with more likely to follow, through the identification of other state entities.
An appropriate recommendation for the Integrity Commission to consider is to extend its microscope closer to the organizational bone of some entities. It is a good thing that the heads and senior officers in some state organizations are subjected to the reporting requirements of the Commission.
But matters should not stop there.
There is a well-known saying that a fish rots from the head; and, as such, places and professionals have been rightly required to declare and report. But taking this a step further, and clearly it is commonsense and reasonable to conclude that once an entity starts to decay, through possibly corrupt stewardship, the rot does not miraculously come to an abrupt halt there.
Rather, the improper and dirty accumulation of what does not belong, what is criminally procured, could extend all the way through the sinew and bloodstream of some organizations from head to tail. In other words, the ugliness could span from the Chief Executive in the paneled room right down the line to those responsible for maintaining an antiseptic washroom.
Therefore, it is suggested that the Integrity Commission consider going beyond the chiefs and include the cooks and clerks. Sometimes they are the foot soldiers on the ground; the collection agents and messengers, who work so well when things must be compartmentalized so as to insulate and protect the big dogs.
Other times, when the smaller fishes observe and detect that a pattern of corruption exists at the higher echelons, they will feel a sense of invulnerability and engage in their own financially rewarding hijinks. There is that belief that that they are immune from exposure or sanction, since they know where the skeletons are buried, and who buried them. Who is going to complain?
But with the Commission’s net of interested places and interested positions going through gradual extensions, there is already a serious problem, which the agency has gone public to make known. It is that the Integrity Commission has no investigators.
It is a telling one, which does not redound to the advantage of the Commission. Here is a watchdog body saddled with naming officials who have to declare assets and in a timely fashion, but which is about all that it does or can do at the present time.
In its present state, through being an investigator-less body, the Commission is reduced to the role of being a gatherer of paper, a repository of much paper, and little else. Because of this reality, the Integrity Commission runs the risk, and raises the specter, of being labeled a paper tiger. And this is not only in the literal sense. It has cardboard teeth, for all intents and purposes.
The Commission can run all kinds of programmes, and analyze as much as it desires, but it does not have those human hands and eyes and minds, as well as boots on the ground, then it might just as well be a necessary evil to be tolerated and endured.
The lack of sleuths in the house can only serve to embolden the reckless and the seasoned that their corrupt ways continue unthreatened, and that they will outlast the work of the Commission.
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