Latest update March 26th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 17, 2023 Letters
The world was officially notified, by way of letter issued February 2023, that The Cooperative Republic of Guyana, has been suspended by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Board for failure to publish its 4th EITI Report, Fiscal Year 2020, which was due by December 31, 2022 as mandated by the EITI Standard.
The request for an extension was denied by the EITI Board. Guyana became an EITI Implementing country on 25th October, 2017. The Guyana EITI Multi-stakeholder Group (MSG) submitted EITI Reports for the Fiscal Year 2017, 2018 & 2019.
March 2022, the Guyana’s first EITI National Coordinator Dr. Rudy Jadoopat, an experienced and highly qualified international economist, was unfairly victimised, removed and unconscionably replaced by a known favourite of the PPPC Government, former Head of the Government Information and News Agency (GINA) under the PPPC, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, and questionable character. Guyana’s 4th report for FY 2020 was not published by EITI mandated deadline of December 31, 2022
The EITI Standard specifies specific Reporting Deadlines, failing which the EITI Board oversight takes action.
Request for Extension
An implementing country may apply for an extension if it is unable to meet any of the mandated deadlines. The EITI Board applies the following tests in assessing any extension requests:
REPEATED USE OF THE TERMS ‘TRANSPARENCY’ AND ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’ MUST INCLUDE HOW AND WHEN
Transparency is a fundamentally necessary prerequisite for Accountability. Corrupt Government officials love to publicly announce that they are strong proponents and promoters of Transparency and Accountability. The President of Guyana recently reacted to Guyana’s suspension from the EITI International Transparency body. He made a public statement during which he accused Civil Society representatives for causing the delay in publishing Guyana’s 4th EITI Report by the December 31st 2022 deadline. This baseless finger-pointing lacks décor. Additionally, it can be construed as ‘reprisal’, ‘coercion’ and an effort to prevent the MSG from operating freely and express their opinions without restraint. One can say that it is clear evidence of non-compliance with EITI Requirement 1.3 (e) iv – Civil Society Engagement.
Government officials are prune to using broad promises and likeable populists’ phrases, like ‘Our Government will do everything within its power to strengthen transparency and full accountability by establishing mechanisms and systems for inclusive governance and full disclosure’.
The majority of citizens would fall prey to these phrases because of, among other factors, a level of trust in existing leaders. This level of trust is natural as it stems from belief systems in secular communities. The ones above are treated as ‘Gods’ and given unconditional trust until evidence emerges to prove that such trust is not deserving by those leaders.
In order to effectiveness and sincerity in lofty phrases, the declarations must include a clear methodology and specific timeline for the implementation and completion of the establishment of transparency and accountability mechanisms and systems, backed by financial support, human resources capacity, legislative and institutional framework.
The EITI Standard is an excellent example for Governments to follow. Deadlines are set for the publication of mandated reports. Penalties are doled out for failure to meet deadlines. Recommendations for corrective actions are issued. Additional failure to adhere results in ‘delisting’ which means ultimate revocation of membership.
Where it is manifestly clear that a significant aspect of the EITI Principles and Requirements are not adhered to by an implementing country, the EITI Board will suspend or delist that country. This includes cases where a country has not met the requirements for timely EITI Reporting.
The EITI Board shall set a time limit for the implementing country to address breaches. While the country will have the status ‘SUSPENDED’. If the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the EITI Board by the deadline, the country’s status will be reinstated. If the matter has not been resolved, the country will be ‘DELISTED’ (the country will no longer be considered an EITI implementing country)
Delisting, i.e. revoking a country’s status as an EITI implementing country will occur if:
(1) An implementing country has been subject to suspension and the matter has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the EITI Board by the agreed deadline.
(2) The EITI Board concludes that a country has not made satisfactory progress in implementing the EITI within the established time frames.
Benefits of EITI Membership
Create a level playing field for investors.
Create a more attractive investment climate
Interest rates on loans from banks to investors in EITI Countries can be lower than to investors in non-EITI Countries.
Greater public awareness about the governance of natural resources.
Greater benefits to citizens in resource-rich countries.
Greater accountability to the owners of natural resources, the citizens.
Building trust, reduce and expose corrupt and unfair practices.
Gradually establish a culture of, and nurture, national integrity, honesty and self-respect.
More details can be found in Chapter 1, Section 4, Articles 2, 7, 8 & 9 of the EITI Standard.
The importance and significance of Guyana’s suspension from the EITI pervade not only the political. Social and economic environment in Guyana, but all resource-rich countries, especially the 50+ EITI Implementing countries.
Respect for the Civil Society Sector in the GYEITI MSG and the entire MSG is paramount, as mandated in the EITI Global Standard. The MSG members have the right to freely express their opinions, even if these are different. The members of the MSG actually represent their respective constituencies. They are expected to perform their duties and functions without fear nor favour. More importantly, Mike McCormick has been participating in the work of the GYEITI MSG since before its inception in 2017. Vanda Radzik has also been a veteran civil society representative in Guyana for decades and also served on the MSG since before its inception. Ms. Radzik is the current Chairperson of the GYEITI MSG. So, to accuse these two prominent civil society leaders is tantamount to an accusation against the entire civil society in Guyana, including the media. We have seen the recent personal attacks against the media. This development is a continuation of such animosity against the Guyanese civil society in general.
The high-level attention Guyana’s suspension from the EITI, has attracted worldwide, is definitely a subject for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry. The Parliament of Guyana should consider this as a matter of high priority as it has left a scornful disgrace to the entire country, including its leaders, all its citizens and also all leaders and citizens of the 50+ EITI implementing countries. Guyana is currently on the precipice of becoming a world economic leader. The rest of the world, including up and coming resource-rich countries, are keenly looking at Guyana. Guyana’s suspension from the EITI is a reflection of incompetence and complete failure, which are often seen in very corrupt societies.
Moses Vishnu Rambarran, Esq.
Author, Attorney and Philanthropist
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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