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“Corruption in Guyana is most widespread outside of government”- Pres. Granger

Former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran presenting a copy of his book “Governance, Transparency and Accountability" to President David Granger.

Former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran presenting a copy of his book “Governance, Transparency and Accountability” to President David Granger.

President David Granger has suggested that anti-corruption critics of his government should turn their attention to the private sector, individuals and other organisations where the scourge is more rampant.

“It is my view that corruption in Guyana is most widespread outside of government. The crimes of tax evasion, contraband smuggling, narcotics trafficking, trafficking in persons, money laundering- all contribute to corruption,” he said Saturday night, ( May 28, 2016) at the launch of former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran’s book titled “Governance, Transparency and Accountability.”

Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) is on record as criticising the now one-year old Granger-led administration, citing two his ministers- Junior Minister of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon- for conflict of interest. Brooms and Harmon have since denied that they had found themselves in conflict of interest situations.

The President said government could not fight corruption alone because members of the public were also complicit and the private sector, offshore banks and tax havens were beneficiaries. He cited the need for the public, civil society, and the international community to play a part in changing attitudes towards corruption. “I urge you, all Guyanese, to be vigilant not only against the abuse of power by the government but also by the abuse of trust by the private sector,” he said.  The President observed that some people ascribe corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, but in reality the real sources of corruption are evidence in other crimes such as bribery, contraband smuggling, clientelism, cronyism, fraud, graft , nepotism. “These are all aspects of the monster of corruption. These crimes can escape detection because of the lack of transparency and that is why some people like opaque transactions because they conceal corruption, they can go unpunished because of a lack of accountability and they can flourish because of weak governance,” he said.

He cautioned Guyanese against believing that corruption is confined to law enforcement agents and other government employees. “It would be hypocritical to think of corruption only of a few crooked cops or revenue clerks who stretch out their hands for bribes. Bribery is crime, indeed, and it must be prevented, it must be punished,” he said.

The Guyanese leader said while his government was committed to excising corruption and improving transparency and probity in public life, other non-state actors must be assisted in fighting the problem which deprives government of revenue that is needed to improve various public goods. “We also need the support of the private sector to remove corruption in the private sector among businessmen, among smugglers, traffickers, gun-runners, money launderers so maybe criticising the government does not ensure the absence of corruption,” he said.

He contended that corruption studies ignore the central role of the “real rogues” such as builders of fuel smuggling vessels, conspirators of importers and exporters of illegal drugs at un-monitored airstrips and numerous creeks and rivers, gold and diamond smugglers who avoid paying royalties, back-trackers and dodgers of National Insurance Scheme and Income Tax payments.

In apparent reference to recent disclosures in the Panama Papers that have been leaked from the law firm, Mossack and Fonseca, the President added that such studies tend to ignore foreign destinations of dirty money. “The practice of good governance, transparency and accountability are more than the antidote for corruption in government. They are also a remedy for ridding the disease of corruption in the private sector, in professional organisations, in civil society and also in international organisations,”

The President acknowledged the need for very strong institutions like the Public Procurement Commission, Integrity Commission and the Public Service Commission to prevent Guyana from being relegated to a rogue state. Granger said he was interested in good governance, accountability and transparency, effective government policy, a regulatory framework, political stability and a representative democracy. He said corruption weakens enforcement of the law, democratic values, accountability, transparency, public trust in governance and institutions of government.

Granger said he was interested in good governance, accountability and transparency, effective government policy, a regulatory framework, political stability and a representative democracy.

  • KassemB

    ‘“Corruption in Guyana is most widespread outside of government”- Pres. Granger’
    With respect Mr President, if you don’t know what big Joe is doing in your Department, what is your chance knowing what is widespread outside the government?

  • Emile_Mervin

    Mr. President, where is the US$5M in GT&T shares about which Minister of State Joe Harmon went on a trip to China to make inquiries as to why it was not paid?
    You, sir, said that was the purpose of his trip, yet he returned to Guyana, and it took Natural resources Minister, Raphael Trotman to inform the nation that Harmon actually came across documents showing the money was paid. To this day, sir, neither Harmon nor yourself ever told the nation the whereabouts of the money, which is raising questions as to whether the money was actually paid during the China trip. How else would Harmon find documents showing the money was paid AFTER he returned from China?

    Look, we know that corruption has permeated Guyana and is not limited to government, but this is precisely why you and Nagamootoo ran as a team: to stop the corrupt PPP and its corrupt governance practice. So, I ask again: WHERE IS THE PEOPLE OFGUYANA’S US$5M IN GT&T SHARES? Answer that or run the risk of running a government that lacks transparency and accountability.

    BTW, one year after you people took over, we have had over US$130M in audits only to be told that audits are not necessarily to result in indictments or even restitutions, but to give a financial picture of the government. Then we were told that in the absence of a witness protection program, witnesses to corruption were afraid to cooperate. In net effect, nothing will be done to address corruption, and PPP supporters who believed the PPP was corrupt will return to the PP because no one from the PPP was convicted of corruption.

    Mr. President, I dare you to prove you are not another Donald Ramotar!

    • Col123

      Important points..Are you sure you didn’t want to address all those VPs and the Hon PM, my best friend …Mr Moses Naggaramootti..we need to leave out the Pres on this issue,.. The chap seems tired and disinterested in all that surrounds him!

      • Emile_Mervin

        Granger is the President. The buck stops with him, not his subordinates.

        • Col123

          True..But who is the REAL one?

  • PETER

    We need to focus here, Guyana is not the only country that has corrupt people and politicians, great America who has a great justice system has to deal daily with corrupt politicians so does the rest of the World. Guyana’s corruption is a long standing way of life since when the British was ruling Guyana, when LFSB took over corruption took off to a higher scale and when jagdeo took over he made it into a science, embedded corruption cannot be turned on and off at a change of government it will take years and strict laws and penalties to root out this evil, no one person should be spared justice private person or politician or government or justice especially should all be penalized and jailed with hard labour to send a strong message, then and only then some semblance of change will come about..
    As a start to regain the people’s confidence in the collation is to remove Broomes to another Ministry and either reduce Harmon’s portfolio and ban him from any dealings with the Chinese or fire him altogether. Granger needs to put up or stand down Guyana doesn’t need another President with Friends in high places..

    • Col123

      Peter: Are you a contortionist ? You continue take some mighty leap!..Maybe, you should have started from Genesis, chapter one…Focus my friend ..Just focus!..I am quite sure that you can’t use the USA as a comparison when you stir the feces in Guyana…Ask Guyana top political professor Freddie?..he will give you some tips!

  • Mtech

    Well Mr president corruption in Guyana is systematic and the only way to deal with it is make example of persons and shame them publicly .

  • Ricardo.Diaz70@hotmail.com

    GRANGER U FULL A SHI# .WHAT HAPPEN TO JOE HURMNA,THE LADY U CAN SWEEP THE ROAD WITH BROOM,MOSES 22 MILLION DOLLARS CAR THAT HIS DAUGHTER IS DRIVING ALL OVER LIKE A CHEAP $$$$

  • cuffy

    Corporate Crime in this case,is your govt,do not try to pass the buck,or try to divert attention from the city council.Do some soul searching and house cleaning,then talk about transparency.

  • Emile_Mervin

    …then don’t campaign on a promise to deal with corruption. This is one reason why I suggested Nagamootoo be President (first 2 1/2 years rotation) so he can both assure disillusioned PPP supporters their interests would be addressed and bravely confront the PPP’s corruption. It must make sense now why Nagamootoo appears to be sidelined, because fighting corruption is not part of this regime’s goals.

    • Col123

      The campaign promise was to jail those thieving PPP scoundrel ….why the multi million dollars in audit? EM..From past governance with both PNC and PPP , the PPP supporters appear always to do well economically…FYI ..Mr Naggamoti was and is a non entity in the eyes of those PPP supporters..

      • Emile_Mervin

        Well, here’s my conclusion: corrupt money runs and ruins Guyana! Period!

  • Col123

    Thank you Mr President .. Your folks have you walking on water… Keep it up….

  • MEMES Unlimited

    A timely reconfirmation by the President of the fundamental platform theme the coalition touted during the campaign season. However, this not – so specific and generalized reference to these most important issues of graft and corruption, has to be honed accordingly:
    1. The private sector is indeed the “hotbed of activity” fuelling most graft and corruption issues within governmental agencies, since (the private sector) this is where the big money resides.
    2. A more comprehensive and across the board, fair minded acknowledgement of the fact that the genesis of graft and corruption began during the Burnham era, more so when essential goods were banned and private business capitalized for profits and supply of essential goods. There was a temporary lull during Hoyte’s time, then resurged in the late 90’s and 2000’s during Jagdeo’s era. The PPP/C assisted in creating so much wealth and jobs during that period, for the first time in Guyana’s history, allowing for inevitable underground siphoning of profits, inclusive of the drugs trade profits and repatriation of such illicit wealth.
    3. The Burnham and Jagdeo’s era supported the development of endemic and entrenched graft and corruption traits in the people, and many of those players are still very active today. The reference by President Granger to the private sector is well intentioned and should become a focal point for a volte face from the ‘business as usual’ model…the private sector is hurting real bad from those very acts of graft and corruption by their employees in their interactions with govt. agencies and other private sector businesses when purchasing goods and services.
    4. With solid leadership from His Excellency, as recently demonstrated when Harmon was stymied and curtailed after the ‘China fiasco’ and on the streets with the bribe taking cops; better days may be ahead.?!!
    THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW REGARDING PROSECUTION OF BOTH THE BRIBE TAKERS AND ESPECIALLY THE GIVERS, AS MUTUAL CONTRIBUTORS TO CRIMINAL ACTS.

    • Col123

      M: The President is pulling a retrograde move to divert attention of corruption, away from his government. I disagree with your notion that the private businesses are where the money is…the govt has the most wealth..There isn’t any way to legislate morality or honesty. When the leadership is crooked…the population find ways to adopt ..following suit to the behaviors of leadership becomes the norm….Rigged elections, party tickets or bribes to get a decent job…including religious conversion are the nutrients and pimps of a corrupt society. The symbiotic relationship between government, contractors….businesses .manufactures..foreign investors breeds corruption at every and all levels..it comes down to quid pro quo…..that mixture of corruption is par excellence in all society for which Guyana is no stranger… the genie is out of the bottle ….To top it off in Guyana, we have that drive for qualitative ethnic superiority, which is a myth, which drives folks to an extreme….You should read those comments on a recent Reparation Chairman letter…the comments from those bloggers will give you chills …

      • MEMES Unlimited

        Excellent rebuttal/reconfirmation, CoI. What is so comforting to me is how you gravitate towards serious commentary, amidst your “humorous” statements….imbedded and read between the lines.
        As one not so gracious blogger mentioned recently to me…remove my pseudonym mask, name myself and stand before them. Of course what they would like to do (to us “hidden in the shadows” messengers) is to start a war of words and other acts to stymie and silence detractors. Of course with me what “they” don’t realize is that I am very much a war dog like them with temporary controls set in place to control that crazy ass primitive animal mind; that place we all have the capacity to visit.
        People need to openly talk about the PNC 28 years of

        • Col123

          M..you are doing well..I enjoy reading your blogs ..it opens my thinking … keep it up…EM does well also , but I am accustomed to footnotes and reputable references … and he throws me off some times. Do not be distracted..keep going at it…