The Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the national contact of Transparency International (TI) - Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) met recently at the request of the PSC to discuss the PSC’s concerns about the low ranking of Guyana on TI’s 2012 Annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI. TIGI explained that the CPI is a TI global research initiative that ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be and has been credited with putting corruption on the international policy agenda. TIGI also highlighted that apart from the CPI Guyana is ranked poorly on corruption in a number of other indices from reputable international organizations.
TIGI presented information on the civil society body, its directors, its mandate, the work it does and intends to do. TIGI discussed its eleven point plan for tackling corruption and improving accountability and transparency in Guyana, which was issued at its press release in December announcing the results of the CPI. TIGI expressed the view that if its proposed eleven point plan is implemented then Guyana’s ranking would surely improve on the CPI.
The PSC expressed concern about the low ranking that Guyana received and its negative impact on business and investment and that, in its view, it was exaggerated. The PSC expressed further concern that the CPI is based on perceptions and not reality, and the methodology used may not be appropriate. TIGI clarified that absolute levels of corruption are difficult to measure since corruption generally comprises illegal activities, which are deliberately hidden and only come to light through scandals, investigations or prosecutions and that the best available substitute measure is the CPI and has been relied upon by most countries and international institutions as an important guide to assessing levels of corruption in a country. Most countries accept the CPI as the best available measure for corruption and readily commit to improving their countries standing.
Both organisations agreed that the perception of corruption of Guyana is too important to be ignored and negatively impacts on business and investment. The PSC agreed with a number of the points in TIGI’s eleven point plan and offered to collaborate on the following.
- The appointment of the Commissioners for the Public Procurement Commission, and the provision of adequate resources for its effective functioning;
- The appointment of the Commissioners for the Integrity Commission and the provision of adequate resources for its effective functioning;;
- Tackling money laundering
- The appointment of an Ombudsman; and
- Bringing into operation the Access to Information Act.
Both parties agreed that as key stakeholders it was important that the PSC and TIGI collaborate their efforts aimed at eradicating corruption in Guyana and meet regularly to discuss progress as well matters of mutual interest.
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