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Charge state resource thieves; tighten anti-corruption loopholes- top US diplomat

US Charge D'Affaires, Bryan Hunt delivering a stinging farewell speech. At left are Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Mr. Hunt's partner, Haroon.

US Charge D’Affaires, Bryan Hunt delivering a stinging farewell speech. At left are Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Mr. Hunt’s partner, Haroon.

A senior American diplomat Friday night called for those stealing state resources and engaging in violence against women and children to be charged.

“Anyone who has stolen, is stealing or in the future attempts to steal State resources must be criminally charged and held accountable before  a court of law,” Outgoing Deputy Chief of the American Embassy in Guyana, Bryan Hunt told a farewell reception that included top government and opposition elected officials,  ambassadors, representatives of civil society and senior law enforcement agents.

President David Granger is already on record as saying that in many cases the forensic audits have not found sufficient evidence to proceed with criminal charges, but have offered his administration an opportunity to correct many deficiencies.

Former Public Service Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford and former Guyana Power and Light Board Director, Carville Duncan have been charged with fraud and larceny respectively.

Hunt cited the need for state asset management, establishment of the public procurement commission and annual forensic audits of all state entities to identify and correct deficiencies immediately.

Hunt also recommended that regulations and legislation be put in place to “fix the loopholes” in the current system that resulted in the issues that have been recently uncovered by the forensic audits.

In the area of conflict of interest, he said there was need for legislation and “enforceable asset disclosure requirements.” Hunt’s comments in this regard came against the background of Junior Natural Resources Minister, Simona Broomes having mining agreements with Pharsalus/ Troy Resources, and earlier this year she entered into an agreement with fellow gold miner, Edward Hopkinson, to operate an excavator on one of his mining properties.

President Granger and Senior Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman have rebuffed claims by Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc and sections of the media that Broomes has found herself in a conflict of interest situation.  The Guyana government has said that it is taking steps to merge a recently drafted ministerial code of conduct and the Integrity Act.

The American envoy, whose next posting would be to Mozambique, called on political parties to ensure their members are held accountable. “All political parties must adopt a zero-tolerance policy for their officials and elected representatives. We need to see parties holding their own accountable rather than defending or overlooking bad behaviour.”

Touching on violence against women and children, the diplomat said perpetrators should be charged and eschewed by politicians. “Violence against women and children must not only be criminally prosecuted but must become socially and politically unacceptable,” said Hunt.

The American envoy also urged Guyana to become a member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative as well as ensure the human rights expansion and protection of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. “Societal attitudes must change to embrace all people as equal regardless of who they love or how they express their gender,” he added.

  • MEMES Unlimited

    Powerful intrusive delivery….cuts right thru the fray, to provide order and healing, amidst the chaos and stealing. All of the alleged perpetrators, now and from the previous administration, must be subjected to law enforcement intervention with adequate evidence gathered and jailed as proven.
    Additionally, we must embark on civil prosecution for those offenders to
    recover some or all of the stolen funds, to the extent of their proven and
    hidden assets. Civil court intervention must also include recovery of “ill-spent”
    and very poorly managed funds, of the people’s money, in ill-fated, improperly
    executed projects…NEVER TO ALLOW THE SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE TO ENJOY AND BE ENRICHED FROM ILL GOTTEN GAINS!!!!
    Pity the PPP/C for not going after the PNC guys of “66-92”, when egregious acts were committed, both politically and financially, but if they weighed the cons and
    decided what they “think” was best in the nation’s interest….then, so be it.
    HISTORY CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO REPEAT ITSELF, OUR PIE IS TOO TINY AND TOO MANY OF OUR DEAR CITIZENS AND CHILDREN ARE TOO IMPOVERISHED AND SUFFERING, SUFFERING, SUFFERING ….FOR GOD’s SAKE, WAKE UP PEOPLE, LETS ERADICATE GRAFT, CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM!!!!!

    • Col123

      No one is going to jail unfortunately…The forensic audits will soon be thrown under the rug …its shelf life expired when the PNC/AFC came to power…It has gotten beyond that…corruption has a father in hell…it will continue until judgement day…add the state of our economy, and this is important.. the perceived notion of “witch hunting ” on the opposition supporters , unemployment ..(the others are equal opportunity ethnic afflictions)..BUT… it comes down to the economic survival of the working class… those receiving a salary is at the highest risk to present day Guyana…You know who control the wealth in Guyana…it troubles me to be negative ..

      • MEMES Unlimited

        I understand…somewhat wishful thinking on my part…but in my small way I do my part to surmount the obstacles.

  • MEMES Unlimited

    They are # 1 in fact and they tend to create more solutions than “problems” in many ways of industry, security, commerce, healthcare, finance, political solutions, drug interdictions, leading edge science….as a matter of absolute fact, most of what makes life bearable in today’s world, is from their direct inputs…don’t see much of any other solutions and leadership coming out from other countries. THEY ARE THE BEST WE HAVE IN OUR IMPERFECT WORLD….PERIOD!!!!

  • Col123

    PM His Honor Moses Naggaramootti …I can give a couple more…

  • eddie

    look at Naggy in the background and his uncomfortable posture and I will bet this picture was taken as this line was stated “””””” Anyone who has stolen, is stealing or in the future attempts to steal State resources must be criminally charged and held accountable before a court of law””””””””””””””””””” look how taken aback he is