Several steps to fight corruption To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
April 30, 2002

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“Government must do more about corruption’’ is the heading of the letter by Baldeo Persaud in Stabroek News of 26th April, 2002.

According to his letter Persaud is saying that although the PPP/Civic passed the Integrity legislation when they came into power whereby the President, members of Parliament and many senior officials are required to declare their assets, the Commission has not done enough.

According to the President, he, his Ministers and all of the PPP/C parliamentarians have filed their returns. The Leader of the Opposition has also been said to have filed his, however the PNC/R parliamentarians have not done so.

Mr. Persaud in his letter is also suggesting that the government should also set up an investigating corruption committee where allegations can be made and be investigated. The editor, in his note has pointed out that under the Act all the officials named in the schedule are subject to a statutory code of conduct and any allegations against them can be reported to the Integrity Commission which is required to investigate them and if necessary refer such matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Since this government has come into office, several steps have been taken to fight corruption which is no easy task given the corrupt culture bequeathed by the former PNC administration which itself held office through corruption.

The PPP/C came into office with a clean record having won at free and fair elections locally and internationally certified and set about to reduce and fight the massive corruption that was a part of the governance of this country, institutionalized by the PNC and met with determined resistance.

When the government brought in Mr. Wellings to revamp the entire Customs and Excise Department there were daily upheavals by the GPSU and the PNC to obstruct his efforts. When staff in various government departments had to be disciplined or got rid of the political opposition charged the government with racial discrimination and victimization and ethnic cleansing.

There was tremendous opposition from the PNC and the GPSU to the introduction of the Guyana Revenue Authority to bring the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs and Excise Department under one administration as a further effort to stamp out corruption and the matter was taken to Court by those opposing it which caused considerable delay.

A number of people from various government departments and agencies have been fired or placed before the Courts and a number of police investigations are ongoing.

Great care is also taken in the distribution of house lots to keep the process as transparent as possible and in the distribution of titles.

We see the efforts also being made to clean up the Deeds and Supreme Court registries with resistance from the Union and the party.

So the PPP/Civic government has been far from idle in its efforts to stamp out corruption but they also need the cooperation of the main opposition party and the Public Service Union as well as the rest of society.

Aaliyah Hooper