Getting rid of the cancer

IT is public knowledge and as noted by British High Commissioner Greg Quinn in February 2017 at a government training seminar, that corruption and money-laundering are like cancers plaguing our society. The envoy further noted, “Too many people still think that they can get away with corruption and with financial abuse.

“If Guyana is to continue to grow and to use future resources for the betterment of all, it will be necessary to address both these issues.”

Where previous efforts by countries and international institutions to help Guyana rid itself of these cancers did not produce measurable successes and the APNU+AFC government is showing willingness to tackle this scourge, it must be supported. As known with cancer, it’s a disease that can spread throughout the entire body, eating away and destroying organs, ultimately resulting in death.

Guyanese are conscious that there exist among us those who are fully aware that their actions are corrupt. Edifying citizens to recognise corrupt practices — including the consequences—will not only see civic involvement in policing the law, but will also serve as a deterrent to engage in the malpractice. The Anti-Corruption Sensitisation Seminar embarked on by the attorney general and the Ministry of Legal Affairs that sets out to educate the public on legislation and bills aimed to tackle corruption is timely. Whereas there is no excuse for not being aware of the laws, in societies such as ours where

corruption has become rampant and entrenched, many have grown accustomed to thinking that such is the manner in which the system is structured and what ought to be done.
The ministry may also find it useful to complement these outreaches by compiling an easy-to-read booklet which can be accessible to the general public in hard and electronic copies. Changing behaviour, especially what has become endemic, requires sustained efforts in recognising and appreciating what is right and supporting efforts to do what is right. For instance, uncertainty regarding the new banking requirements as cautionary measures and Guyana’s obligation to prevent money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, can be addressed through sensitisation and education.

There is a political side to corruption which too cannot be ignored. While the PPP/C government has earned Guyana the disrepute of being the most corrupt English-speaking Caribbean country, now in the opposition it has been accusing the APNU+AFC government of corruption. And while some are inclined to believe this, could reference allegations of it, irrespective of beliefs or allegations, it is to the country’s benefit when all governments recognize that corruption is unacceptable and there are consequences for those engaging in such misconduct.

The political aspect aside, the socio-economic consequences wreaked on this country as the result of corruption cannot be accurately quantified. It is reasonable however to surmise that it has to be humongous, given the years it was cuddled in the corridors of power and allowed to run wild. Where this scourge, however small or large, continues to retard and debilitate the growth and development of a people and society, it requires

surgical/meticulous intervention to excise the cancer. It cannot be over-emphasised that Guyana’s obligation as a member of the United Nations is to uphold the Convention against Corruption, which was ratified by the government on 16th April, 2008. The presence of the UNODC which promotes adherence to the convention augurs well in making good of Guyana’s responsibility to execute the mandatory and legally binding agreements ensconced within.


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