State-owned steel-pan not tuned to transparency, says anti-corruption watchdog

Last Updated on Friday, 22 January 2016, 19:24 by Denis Chabrol

The Transparency Institute of Guyana (TIGI) Friday railed against the Ministry of Education’s Department of Culture, Youth and Sport for failing to address a complaint that the State-owned steel pans were being allegedly misused by staff.

“TIGI, as an organization committed to eradicating corruption in Guyana, is appalled and disappointed at the sloth demonstrated in investigating and reporting on such an important matter. We expected that a Ministry would work with a greater sense of urgency towards protecting its integrity.

We would like to strongly encourage organizations, particularly Government Agencies to take matters of accountability seriously and to uphold high standards of transparency by disclosing information to the public in a timely manner. This is important in building trust with your citizens. We are still hoping to see the findings of this investigation sometime soon,” said the incorporated entity.

The anti-corruption watchdog agency, which is affiliated to Transparency International, said the complaint dates back to June 23, 2015 and despite numerous promises the promised report has not been forthcoming.

“The complainant elaborated that staff had been using the steel pans for personal gains at events not sanctioned by the Department of Culture, Youth & Sport. The complainant went on to indicate that Senior Officials were aware of the problem but have failed to intervene,” said the agency..

Transparency Institute said that after receiving the complaint, TIGI wrote to Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, on this matter on July 2, 2015.

Following up on its letter, TIGI said it called the Ministry and were told that it had been forwarded to another Senior Official who will handle the matter.  The organisation said it awaited feedback from this Official for several weeks but to no avail. TIGI recalled sending a follow-up e-mail on August 14, 2015 urging an investigation into the complaint and requested that the findings be forwarded to it.

“We received a response the same day stating that The Ministry had launched an investigation into all related complaints and that a copy of the report will be forwarded to us upon completion.

More than five months later, no report has been received by TIGI. After several follow-up e-mails and phone calls, we were told by the Senior Official in November 2015, 3 months after stating that an investigation was ongoing, that the Ministry had expected a report to be available by the end of August but it had not yet been completed,” said TIGI