Permanent Secretaries to play key role against corruption

Guyana Chronicle
October 26, 1999

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has pledged that the fight against corruption will be one of the hallmarks of his government and he sounded a warning to persons engaged in such practices.

"I want to make it clear that anyone, no matter who you are, that we find is engaged in corrupt practices, that person will feel the full force of the rod and I am asking the people of our country to help me in this task," he reiterated on television.

He was speaking on the Guyana Television Broadcasting Company (GTV) programme `This Week with the President', aired Sunday.

President Jagdeo said the issue is very high on his agenda and the Government has to battle it in every form.

Citizens who witness wrongdoings in this country and are willing to take and stand and come forward to assist are the ones to help see the nation move forward, he noted, adding that the Government has made "tremendous" strides in the drive although the situation is "still unacceptable".

The President acknowledged that the governmental sector had not been very responsive, in the past, to the public quest for services.

However, he assured that steps are being taken to address the process and some new Permanent Secretaries may be named shortly and others shifted around.

The Head of State said he will hold those functionaries responsible for the efficient and effective management of their respective ministries.

Mr Jagdeo said extensive efforts are presently being made to reform the policies and systems which are not functioning properly in ministries.

The President said the administration of scholarships, who gets them and what are the criteria for the awards is one such system to be reviewed and the procedure has already begun.

He disclosed that a lot of work has been going on "behind the scenes" and, hopefully, would lead to more efficient Government departments and "friendliness in the dealings with the public."

President Jagdeo re-emphasised the need for national unity.

"I do hope that the newspapers and other media houses would emphasise this need and the necessity in our country ... to do stories that focus more on national unity and things that unite us, rather than stories and reports of a dividing and conflicting nature," he said.

The Head of State repeated that he wants to be "President of all the people of this country".

"... we have to work together as one people to achieve our goals as a country," he urged.

Mr Jagdeo said, at the beginning of his term, he avoided the temptation of announcing the ideas he had as to how he wanted to see things happen or go.

... until I had the discussions with the interest groups and that happened with the (recent) Private Sector Summit," he explained.

"I also broadly outlined how I intend to manage ... I did not focus, in the initial period, on policies but largely emphasised my approach to things, the approach of inactivity, of putting a large weight on the views of young people and trying to mainstream their ideas into government, the need to make Government responsive to the people, etc.

"These are all done in terms of the approach which relates to my style of management," the President stated.

Mr Jagdeo said Guyana's policies relating to stimulating private sector activities and increased growth in the country, job creation, etc were tested at the recent encounter out of which came a joint position.

He still has to continue the engagement of taking the Cabinet to different places and the next is Linden.

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