Rohee believes government doing a lot to fight corruption

Rohee believes government doing a lot to fight corruption

Home Affair Minister Clement Rohee has defended government’s corruption fighting efforts while at the same time disagreeing with recent comments by outgoing British High Commissioner Andrew Ayre on the subject.

High Commissioner Ayre in a recent interview said the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government was not doing enough to fight corruption and as a consequence, the country faces a stark threat from organized crime which needs a far greater allocation of resources.

The British Diplomat cautioned the administration that “the best way to attract UK and other developed world investment is to have the best possible business environment and the least possible corrupt environment.”

He told the Stabroek News that “the effort is not strong enough. There needs to be engagement with Transparency International (TI) and with partners that are interested in improving transparency in Guyana.”

But according to Rohee, the High Commissioner’s comments are unfair since he made no mention of what the administration has done but only outlined areas of lack.

“I don’t agree with him because I don’t think he has said what we have done, he may have said what we have not done, which is quite okay but in order to balance that off he ought to have pointed out what we have done in the fight against corruption,” Minister Rohee said.

The British Diplomat believes that corruption was negatively impacting Guyana since it is being denied investments needed for development.

To this end, Rohee said the High Commissioner has not facilitated any healthy discourse on the issue and believes his comments are unbalanced and biased.

The Minister recalled statements made by President Donald Ramotar at the weekend on corruption where he did not deny that corruption exists in Guyana but whenever it is encountered it is dealt it accordingly.

Rohee said the PPP/C does not condone corrupt practices as a matter of policy.

“We do not support corruption as a matter of policy, however if anyone has evidence… bring it forward and we act on it.”

The High Commissioner had recommended that the administration work with local corruption fighting body, Transparency International (TI); an organization the government has rejected as being biased and has consequently distanced itself from.

At the close of 2014, Guyana’s corruption perception ranking moved slightly in a positive direction, but it is still listed in the very corrupt category in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

In the 2014 results, Guyana remains far behind its Caricom peers placing 124th out of 175 countries. The only Caricom country that is doing worse than Guyana is Haiti which placed 161. Guyana and Haiti have traditionally been at the bottom of the rankings.

A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Guyana’s score this year was 30 compared to 27 last year and 28 the year before.

Filed: 2nd February, 2015

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