Georgetown, GINA, September 16, 2015
The UN Office on drugs and Crime is encouraged by the cooperation shown by the present Government of Guyana.
According to the Regional Representative for the Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean, Amado Phillip de Andres, the government has been providing strong responses to the fight against corruption.
“With the previous government, United Nations had a lot of problems because the government of Guyana is party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and now we are reviewing the implementation by the Guyanese authorities of this Convention against Corruption and now we are reviewing the implementation by the Guyanese authorities of this convention, we never obtained any response. With the new government we are obtaining strong responses that says the fight against corruption goes for real” Phillip de Andres said.
The official expressed these sentiments today, after meeting with Guyana’s Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams. The meeting saw discussions on a wide range of issues with specific emphasis on anti-corruption, asset recovery, anti-money laundering and the gamut of transnational crimes, and Trafficking in Person (TIP).
“We were thinking about some options for asset recovery and a specialized anti-corruption investigation. One option is to support the government and the Attorney General with a UN Advisor or Prosecutor on corruption,” de Andres said. This Advisor or Prosecutor would work with the administration to mainstream legislation and ensure that future investigations on corruption; which are becoming more sophisticated, are carried out in the correct manner and according to UN standards.
The UN official said that in the context of ensuring Guyana confirms to the provisions of the UN convention, discussions were also held with Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman. Those discussions focused on how to support the government to establish a network of compliance officers.
“In any country right now in the 21st century, line ministries are required by UN standards to nominate one, two or three compliance officers, for example with the Ministry of Planning or Public Works. When you have public procurement you always have the compliance officers certified by the UN, that is one option” de Andres explained.
Other options discussed to strengthen the government’s anti-corruption stance include, any government official at the technical level in any line ministry can have an anti-corruption diploma with some specialization on transparency, which could be the entry door to good practice for anti-corruption and, working with the private sector.
“Guyana will have an expanding private sector within the next five years. We would like to explore how they will work hand in glove with the government and the Attorney General’s office to prevent and fight corruption. These are the basic aspects of our visit for the moment” de Andres explained.
The specialized United Nations Agency intends to work closely with the United Nations Resident Representative in Guyana, Khadija Musa who will lead and coordinate all the UN efforts in the country.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams indicated that the discussions were held in keeping with the administration’s focus of anti-corruption.
“In the opposition we fought valiantly against corruption in the last government. We are very much interested in correction corruption in Guyana, President Granger speaks all the time on this. We welcome the proposals and these discussions have really opened certain avenues that we could follow. I have requested certain things from the Representative so we expect that we can be able to move on from there,” Minister Williams explained.
The current administration upon taking office has embarked on a vigorous campaign to ensure that Guyana is compliant with their International obligations; including those that come as a result of ratified Conventions and Treaties.