International Anti-Corruption Day: ABCE diplomats applaud Govt for anti-corruption initiatives

…call for more robust legislative framework, more effort to “root out corruption”

US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention against Corruption, Western diplomats have lauded the Guyana Government for its anti-corruption efforts already undertaken, while also calling for more robust legislation to root out corrupt practices.
This was indicated in a joint statement from the Ambassador of the United States of America, Sarah-Ann Lynch; British High Commissioner Jane Miller OBE; Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman, and the Ambassador of the European Union, René van Nes, in commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day, being observed today across the world.
This is reflected by the theme of this year’s international day. The IACD theme this year is “UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption”, and it reflects the 20th anniversary of the Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman

According to the ABCE diplomats, this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day highlights the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development. They acknowledged that Guyana, over the years, has held anti-corruption workshops and developed an anti-corruption manual. It was noted, too, that recent amendments to the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) have been made to try to further promote fair and transparent elections.
In addition, the revised Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act allows for increased transparency and improved management of Guyana’s natural resource wealth. Importantly, it was outlined that amendments to Guyana’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation may clear Guyana’s path to membership in the prestigious Egmont Group, which facilitates cooperation and intelligence- sharing among international financial intelligence units to investigate and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

British High Commissioner Jane Miller

But the ABCE envoys said, “We applaud the Government for these actions. However, combatting corruption requires more than a robust legislative framework. In each case where the legal framework allows for best practices, those practices must be implemented for all to see and experience.”
They pointed out that since corruption disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable in society, Governments have a duty to hold to account those who engage in fraud, bribery, and collusion with criminal elements.
However, the diplomats stated that Governments alone cannot solve this social disease, adding that civil society and the Private Sector must also do their part to work collectively with Governments to eradicate corruption at all levels.

EU Ambassador René van Nes

“As the year draws to a close, we look forward to more initiatives by the Guyanese Government to address and eventually root out corruption. Guyana’s sturdy anti-corruption policies, together with swift responses to evidence-based cases of corrupt practices, will clearly demonstrate to Guyana’s citizens and the rest of the world that the Government is committed to transparency, accountability, and responsiveness for the future benefit of all Guyanese,” the western envoys posited.
Globally, they outlined that corruption is a corrosive influence that undermines public faith in institutions, resulting in diminished citizen security, stunted economic growth, and a drain on public and private resources.
To this end, they underscored the importance of ensuring improved accountability, increased transparency, and the dismantling of corruption in all its forms in order to build a more inclusive future for all.
On this note, the ABCE diplomats said in their joint missive that Governments at all levels all around the world should honour their obligation to tackle corruption.
“At the local level, Governments should commit to anti-corruption initiatives in collaboration with the Public and Private Sectors as well as Civil Society. Such cooperation will yield positive outcomes leading to good governance, a robust Civil Society, respect for the rule of law, and the preservation of human rights norms,” they stressed.
The diplomats further contended that strengthening legislative frameworks to deter corrupt practices, promote transparency, and uphold accountability is a key step in addressing corruption.