Local Transparency body biased and lacking objectivity


-Ministry of Foreign Affairs
GOVERNMENT yesterday registered its dissatisfaction with the lack of objectivity and obvious bias of the local transparency chapter of Transparency International and has written to the international body, the donor and diplomatic communities, to express its position.
Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, performing the duties of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, revealed this to the media at the Labour Ministry’s Brickdam, Georgetown boardroom.
This action has been prompted by one of the first releases by the local body, the Minister said.
‘The Guyana chapter of Transparency International, which has just been registered, has shown its bias with respect to its statement on the Government’s One Laptop for Family Project,” Minister Nadir stated.
He noted that among the executives of the body are persons who have demonstrated hostility, bitterness and vitriol to the Government of Guyana, and while there may be some of them who are impartial, government is concerned that the local chapter has started off with “individuals who are tainted by their lack of objectivity”.
The minister stressed that many of these individuals have affiliations with local political parties and have already demonstrated their own biases.
Naming three of these executives, Christopher Ram, Enrico Woolford, and Keith Parks, Minister Nadir stated that it is no secret that the first two named individuals are steadfastly anti-government.
“Mr. Ram is the legal counsel of the Transparency International Guyana, Mr. Christopher Ram is a person who said he had a hand in writing the PNC/R 1G manifesto for the 2006 elections … as legal counsel, Mr. Ram should know one of the principal maxims of equity; it says ‘those who come to redress must come with clean eyes’,” the Minister pointed out.
Mr. Woolford, he noted, could be perceived as lacking objectivity when the content of the newscast he manages is taken into account.
As it relates to Mr. Parks, Minister Nadir said that he is closely affiliated to a political party, through familial relations, thus bringing into question his impartiality within the body.
“I raise these persons to show that the Guyana chapter of Transparency International has started out with tainted people among its flock. This government has no problems with transparency, with opening itself to scrutiny at the highest level, none whatsoever. But those who are coming to scrutinise us, who are coming to make comments on us, should be above reproach.”
The minister added that the supposed gift of US$50,000 by Huawei was used to buy 142 laptops for poor families around the country.
He noted that the diplomatic community was at the time of this donation invited by President Bharrat Jagdeo to make similar gestures.
“The Chinese Government is committed to providing 21,600 of these laptops,” the Minister further informed.
He stated that when funds are provided by donor countries, it is not uncommon for them to stipulate which companies bids should be invited from; and invariably these companies are located in the country from which the money is originating, or in the case of donor agencies, within member countries.
“Huawei is one of the largest companies in the world and is among one of the top three companies in terms of information technology and the provision of IT hardware and software and the building of platforms; there are not many companies of the same status as Huawei, and we have been dealing with them for a number of years,” he said. (GINA)