Transparency International says that the case of conflict of interest involving Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes is real and she should be moved from the Ministry.
The statement comes on the heels of a report carried on Demerara Waves which details that the Minister has present personal interests in the mining community.
Information has surfaced showing that she applied for permission to conduct mining activity on someone else’s property while being a minister of that sector.
Demerara Waves Online News was able to independently confirm that veteran miner, Edward Hopkinson granted Broomes permission to mine on his property at Puruni. The application by Simona Broomes (National Identification Number 11383803) is dated March 4, 2016.
Government has stated that they see no case for a conflict of interest.
But Transparency International in a statement a clear conflict of or “related party” interest would exist whenever matters affecting the mining operations of the children of Minister Broomes are either handled or contributed to by Minister Broomes.
“One should also be wary that junior officers might feel obliged to act in a manner that gives favorable treatment to people associated with or related to the Minister, even (or especially!) in matters for which the Minister would have declared conflict of interest,” the release stated.
It was stated that “the popular recommendation at present is that Minister Broomes be moved to another ministry. This recommendation is rooted in the experience of the recent past combined with current low level of accountability to the people. Against this backdrop, intolerance of a more nuanced alternative is understandable.”
President David Granger recently stated that Questioned on the issue on Thursday’s taping of Public Interest, President David Granger expressed his willingness to once again transfer the Minister if a conflict of interest situation arises.
“We have a draft code of conduct and if any situation were to arise, I am very confident she [Broomes] would be put in another place or she would demit office but that situation hasn’t arisen at the present time,” the President stated emphatically.
Mr Granger said that despite the concerns raised and a call for her to be removed from office, he does not see the need to do that.
“The functions she performed at the Ministry does not necessarily come into conflict with the fact that her children own that property. Minister of Natural Resources is an experienced Attorney and I’ve asked him for his views and I will be guided by his advice but at present I do not see any need to remove her,” President Granger added