Big gains for Guyana on anti-corruption index
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…jumps up to 85th on global ranking

THE APNU+AFC administration’s fight against corruption is bearing fruit as Guyana has improved its rating to 85 in the latest Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

Guyana is also listed as one of several countries which made significant improvements since 2012, according to the 2019 report which was released on Thursday.
The index, which ranks the 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

The index is based on analysis of 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption.

Last year Guyana was ranked at 93 out of the 180 countries which were looked at and according to the new rating, the country is now tied with Kuwait and Trinidad and Tobago, according to the report. “With a score of 40, Guyana is a significant improver on the CPI since 2012. While there is still much work to do, the government is demonstrating political will to hold former politicians accountable for the misuse of state resources,” the report said.

According to the report, in the last eight years, only 22 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, and the list includes Guyana, Greece and Estonia.

Since assuming office, the David Granger-led administration has taken several concrete steps to fight corruption and these include the passage of legislation in the National Assembly during the ninth parliament.

The list includes the crucial Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) (AML/CFT) Bill which went through all three stages of the parliamentary process before it was passed by parliamentarians.

The Ministry of Legal Affairs then took on a lengthy process to ensure Guyana complies with Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) through a series of outreaches and sensitisation seminars, as it sought to raise awareness and build capacity.

Under the stewardship of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, Guyana recorded significant progress in addressing the deficiencies within its AML/CFT regime.

This eventually resulted in the country being removed from the CFATF Blacklist and most recently, the European Commission’s Money-Laundering Blacklist.
Among the other significant pieces of legislation passed under the coalition was the State Assets Recovery Act, the Protected Disclosures Act, and the National Payments Systems Act in 2018 to bolster its legislative response.

The appointment of members for function on the Integrity Commission, thereby making that body functional, was also another bold move targeting corruption.

The Integrity Commission Act was assented to on September 24, 1997 but the body’s functionality was never approved by the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) administration.
The Act provides for the establishment of the Integrity Commission and make provisions for the purpose of securing the integrity of persons in public life.

Last April, the United States government lauded Guyana in its efforts to counter money-laundering. In the same breath, the US authorities said that more investigations and successful prosecutions were needed.

“Guyana amended its AML/CFT law and the Guyana Gold Board legislation, and established the National Coordination Committee to be responsible for overall AML policy. The National Coordination Committee will develop a national AML action plan,” it reported while noting too that the National Payments Systems Act establishes payment and oversight mechanisms.

It was noted by the U.S State Department, that the country is actively building capacity among the key players in the fight to reduce and ultimately eradicate money laundering.
Last year, the United Nations praised Guyana on its efforts to eradicate corruption.
Last October, a delegation from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Secretariat in Vienna, was on a country visit for the review of Guyana’s ‘United Nations Convention against Corruption Draft Report’.

A release from the Legal Affairs Ministry noted that Tanja Santucci, one of the UNODC officials, said that she was impressed with the volume of legislation that the Attorney General’s Chambers was able to pass in a short time and commended the attorney-general in this regard.

The UNODC official also noted that she was particularly impressed with the efforts taken by the attorney-general to ensure Guyana was removed from the backlist by the Financial Action Task Force.

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