Within two former Ministers in the spotlight over gifts they received from Departments under their watch, Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon believes that there should be a policy on gifts received while in office.
The Opposition Leader explained that there are official gifts that are required by law to be accounted for, however, he doesn’t believe the gifts received warranted such reporting.
He also said the guidelines that the APNU/AFC coalition outlined for itself while in office were not breached.
During a press conference on Monday, Mr. Harmon explained that gift receiving policies will have to be tabled and passed in the National Assembly to become enforceable, adding that he believes such legislation will strengthen Guyana’s democracy.
The Opposition Leader’s comments came following revelations that former Ministers of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Annette Ferguson received pricy gifts totaling more than $3million while in office from Departments under their watch.
The policies according to Harmon will have to incorporate, ‘to what extent do you say if your staff make an appreciation to you that you need to find out from them whether the sub and came up with it or it came from some government coffer”.
He said that the PPP government is in no moral position to make the accusations they are now making.
The Former Minister of State pointed to a gift received by Minister of Public Works – Juan Edghill shortly after assuming office in August.
The Opposition Leader also referenced, criminal charges that were brought against Attorney General Anil Nandlall for law books which he claimed were gifted to him by former President Ramotar.
The books were valued at over $2 million.
Harmon also stated that the Auditor General in his report, “covering the period up until December 31, 2010 showed that the PPP administration received some $14B in unaccounted gifts…..so when you live in glass house don’t change your clothes”.