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Guyana’s perceived corruption worsens; local watchdog says it was avoidable

Guyana this year slipped five points in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI), putting it at 119 out of 168 countries and 29 for this year’s score in the area of public sector corruption.

President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI), Reverend Compton Meerabux said yet another poor showing on the rankings by the Germany-headquartered TI could have been avoided if Guyana had established the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) and the Integrity Commission.

Parliament office days ago began advertising for nominees to sit on the PPPC.

“The solution to this is that we have to put in the Integrity Commission with qualified experts, not just to have a girl at the office to receive pieces of paper and we must also have the Procurement Commission with the right people on it,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

TI explains that a country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries in the index.

Describing the situation in Guyana as “grand corruption,” in which the few benefit from high-level corruption at the expense of the majority, Meerabux said the nine-month old coalition-led government could not be blamed altogether for the low CPI marks.

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Back in 2014, Guyana was ranked 124 out of 175 countries and 136 out of 177 in 2013.

The TIGI boss, however, said the President David Granger-led administration must bear the burden of slothfulness in fixing some of the major causes of public sector-related corruption such as the unlawful taking of assets that should go towards improving the lives of the poor. “I would not blame the new government but they are slow, they are procrastinating all the time.  Eight months have gone and we have not had the Procurement Commission,” he said.

The TIGI President called on those in authority to stop condemning media workers but instead be more tolerant of criticisms and the unearthing of aspects of perceived corruption. Also being recommended is an end to secret deals such as those behind the financing of the Marriott Hotel.

Reverend Meerabux said the perceived of conflict of interest like that involving Junior Minister of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes and her mining interests in Pharsalus, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australia-headquartered Troy Resources.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has said it has asked for a legal opinion on the matter.