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UK warns of taxypayers’ corruption-fatigue; Guyana ditches Transparency Intl’s low marks

British High Commissioner to Guyana, Andrew Ayre

Less than one month after the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Andrew Ayre warned that donor nations were under pressure to pull funding from countries that are perceived as corrupt, the South American country has slipped even further on the global yardstick.

Transparency International (TI) says Guyana has scored a mere 27 out of 100 points and 28th out of 32 countries in the Americas. Guyana is also ranked the worst performer except for Haiti.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon said Guyana was obliged to condemn TI’s poor ranking of the country where corruption was rife or the country could very well lose vital international funding. “Were we to accept, not respond, not to repudiate those findings, that (loss of funds) that could indeed be possible,” he said. “We are not going to sit down here and behave like toothless poodles.”

The government official said government would prefer to give an informed comment only if it knew the basis for TI’s report. “They are rather uncharitable to this government, fail to recognise the efforts that the government has been making over time, leaning backwards in addressing this issue of transparency and accountability,” said Luncheon. He personally believed that anti-corruption organisations “were falling prey to some of the wickedness that you members of the media perpetrate.”

Addressing the 2nd Annual Fund Raising Dinner by Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI), the British envoy had noted that funding to countries with poor rankings could be in jeopardy.

“The appetite of taxpayers in Developed Countries to commit to development-spend in jurisdictions with high perceived rates of corruption has waned. Faced with cuts in services at home, many are asking why money should be spent abroad when corruption reduces the net benefit in some cases close to zero,” said Ayre.

Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) has in the past justified the accuracy of TI’s Perception Index, sayingt that information is gathered from surveys as well information from reputable institutions like the World Economic Forum, World Bank and the Global Insight Country Risk Ratings.

The British High Commissioner noted that the recent G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg leaders committed to implementing the G-20 Anti Corruption Action Plan – combating domestic and foreign bribery, tackling corruption in high-risk sectors, strengthening international cooperation and promoting public integrity and transparency in the fight against corruption.

G-20 leaders also said that sound and sustainable growth would be firmly based on increased and predictable investments, on trust and on transparency.

For its part, the United Kingdom has already enacted comprehensive and “far reaching” anti-bribery laws under which UK companies can be prosecuted for bribing overseas officials. “Reducing corruption boosts development, providing much needed services to citizens and a better business environment for local entrepreneurs and international investors,” Ayre added.

Latest figures from the World Bank show that globally six percent of Gross Domestic Product is lost to corruption. “The more corruption, the less development.”

The British High Commissioner acknowledged that there was corruption in Europe, North America but also in the Developed World including Caricom.