Guyana still has long road ahead – TIGI

first_imgCorruption indexWhile Guyana’s progression on Transparency International’s ranking is a good sign, the ranking shows the country is still prone to corruption and according to Transparency Institute Guyana Incorporated (TIGI), there are still outstanding issues the Government has to address.TIGI head, Dr Troy ThomasIn an interview with Guyana Times, TIGI President, Dr Troy Thomas noted that the reality is Guyana still has a long road to travel. In addition, he noted that events like the questionable US$18 million signing bonus that was concealed by the Government – an issue ventilated late in 2017 – may not have been factored in.“I think that is a good sign for Guyana. (But) an improvement in ranking does not mean all is well. It means people believe we are in the right direction. But at the same time, Guyana is still corrupt. So, it doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. It means that there have been some improvements but there are still areas.”He stressed that the question of corruption did not just involve bad decisions but also persons benefiting inappropriately from good or bad decisions being made. These issues, the anti-corruption advocate said, remained to be stamped out.With dire warnings that countries in the region make anti-corruption as a national policy and priority, International watchdog Transparency International (TI) had given Guyana a ranking of 91 out of 180 countries on the index.The indexAccording to the index, which was released just days ago, countries that fail to make anti-corruption a priority stand the risk of losing ground in their corruption fighting efforts in future indexes.“(But) countries that prioritise anti-corruption and create national policies through consensus and public and political participation; are better positioned to make a significant qualitative leap forward,” the report stated.While the report shied away from saying that the Region’s anti-corruption fight had come to a standstill, it did observe that more must be done to tackle structural issues. This, the report noted, includes “political funding, public procurement and the strengthening of independent, strong, and flexible legal institutions.”Guyana was ranked at 91, with a score of 38; an improvement from 2016’s ranking of 108. For 2016, the country received a score of 34; in 2015, 29 and in 2014, 30.The last time the index had been released, it was noted that there were outstanding issues with corruption that were not being addressed.During one of his rare press conferences, President David Granger had denied knowledge of any corruption within his Government. This came in the wake of a number of instances when Government’s accountability and transparency was put in the spotlight.While he insisted that he would do whatever possible to ensure the integrity of his Ministers working in the industry, Granger had acknowledged that “God couldn’t confirm that his people wouldn’t be compromised by adultery.”At the time, Government had been facing much heat from the political Opposition as well as civil society. They had been criticised for the controversial Sussex Street bond, the Hope Wind Farm project, a $605 million sole-sourced drug contract, the handpicking of a Dutch firm to conduct a feasibility analysis on a new Demerara Harbour Bridge, among others.They were also criticised for collecting a US$18 million oil bonus but never disclosing the transaction to the nation.last_img

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