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Guyanese demand action, not more rhetoric – independent commentators

By on January 12, 2020

first_imgSARA’s anti-corruption walk…walk politically motivated, will not change status quoGuyanese are demanding more action to root out, and in other instances, significantly reduce Government and systemic corruption in order to boost public morale and confidence, while at the same time strengthening law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary to prosecute those who are guilty regardless of their rank and file or political affiliation. They do not need more politically coated rhetoric or walks as these will have no impact on changing Guyana’s current status quo or intensifying the fight against corruption.Those are the sentiments being expressed by several prominent independent commentators and heads of various agencies that have doubts about the Anti-Corruption walk being put on by the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) tomorrow.Social activist and Attorney, Christopher Ram told Guyana Times on Wednesday that he can’t see what possible change that specific march could bring to help in the fight against corruption. “I will be pleasantly surprised if it did,” he said. The popular activist feels the activity is merely a public relations stunt being put on by SARA and it is a total waste of time and money.Asked whether he would be critical of persons who will participate in this and similar marches given the fact that there are still many unresolved issues in relation to corruption, Ram said it should be an exercise of choice. “I think it would be interesting to find out from them why is it they have chosen to take part.”Outspoken economist and commentator Ramon Gaskin told this newspaper that he finds the march as being extremely odd that a law enforcement agency would get involved in such an event. “No law enforcement agency will do a march to tell you what a criminal offence is. Corruption in this country is a criminal offence. Normally marches are associated with other human and civil rights issue,” he said.Gaskin said he nevertheless finds the idea “entirely ridiculous” and also a waste of time and energy. “SARA should get down to the business of tackling corruption rather than marching on the road,” he added. Questioned as to whether he thinks it is politically motivated, the commentator said it demonstrates “pure ignorance and stupidity on the part of all those who came up with this brilliant idea.”Meanwhile, in providing his views on the march, Head of the Transparency Institute of Guyana, Troy Thomas told Guyana Times that he sees it as an avenue to raise awareness about corruption. While Thomas was not too confident about whether it will indeed yield any specific results to end corruption, he said the initiative could be seen as an avenue to bring people up to date with what’s happening.He said, “I think in order to have an impact on the state of affairs in the country, you need sustained effort to address those matters. You don’t only need a march, you need to tackle it from several different angles. So, the march is good to bring awareness, but that in itself will not change anything.”While the Transparency Institute was one of the organisations that has received an invitation to attend the march, Thomas said he is not aware if the march is being organised by SARA or the Government. However, he is not under the impression that Government is involved and it would be better that way.The march comes at a time when two former senior Government officials that worked under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration were charged in relation to the sale of three State lands. Thomas said he doesn’t know how long before this event was planned. “If this march is somehow being used to bring attention to those issues that would be the wrong purpose. I didn’t get the sense that that was what it was, but if it is then TIGI will have a big problem with it,” the official added.While TIGI supports State assets recovery, Thomas did mention that he is aware of the concerns regarding how the agency was organised and potentially how it went about its operation. As such, he noted that SARA should be careful when it comes to issues because there may have some issues within the organisation with persons making certain public statements, which he does not support.“And that sort of behaviour, in my view, affects the perception that that they are an impartial agency. And I would strongly recommend that SARA addresses that and form up their image. They can’t be seen to be partisan in any way, given the purpose that they are serving,” he asserted.Contact was also made with President of the Guyana Bar Association, Kamal Ramkarran, who told this publication that he hasn’t seen any reference to the march anywhere and doesn’t have a position on it, simply because it was not brought up for discussion by the Association’s executive.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has declined an invitation extended to him by Head of the Agency, Dr Clive Thomas to participate in a march. In declining the invitation, the Opposition Leader said he viewed the walk as it is – a mere “smokescreen” to detract from the grossest violations of the constitutional and statutory provisions regarding financial probity, transparency, and accountability.Furthermore, he added that he would not participate in such a walk while members of successive People’s PPP Governments and other public officials have been discriminated against, victimised, and targeted by a State-sponsored witch-hunt on frivolous manufactured charges.last_img read more

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