Guyana will fulfill obligations under int’l anti-corruption conventions – Teixeira assures
The Ministry of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs on Monday brought together representatives from several anti-corruption bodies for a three-day workshop as Guyana looks to fulfill its obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
The opening ceremony was held at the Guyana Police Force Officer’s Training Centre in Georgetown with participants set to receive guidance from the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in preparation for the upcoming second review cycle of the UNCAC.
Guyana acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on April 16 2008. The Convention entered into force for Guyana one month later, on May 16 2008 with Guyana already completing the first review period.
While addressing the anti-corruption workshop, Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira said the aim is to now build institutional capacity within Guyana’s anti-corruption agencies to report in a factual manner. That report she said must be able to stand scrutiny.
Teixeira explained that in the first review cycle, Guyana hired a consultant who prepared 188 pages’ document which was submitted; nothing was done since.
“… and that can’t work. It can’t work for our country. We need to build institutional capacity so it becomes a part of what we do in government,” she said.
With the formation of this new Ministry which has among its functions satisfying treaty obligations, Teixeira said a national mechanism for treaty reporting is being developed.
In that regard, a National Coordinating Committee is being set up to not only address United Nations Convention against Corruption but also the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, which Guyana has been associated with since 2000.
Both conventions aim to promote and strengthen the development of the mechanisms needed to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption.
“We have to look at where there are overlaps and synergies although there are differences… we need as a country, a small country, to work in an organised and structured manner and development capacity at the agencies and national level.
“If we are serious about anti-corruption and ensuring taxpayers’ money is used for the good of the people and not for abuse, corruption and embezzlement etcetera, then we have to ensure that the agencies involved are prepared and willing to take on the job” the Minister stated.
She said the Committee currently has reps from 12 agencies with plans afoot to expand this list. There are monthly meetings.
The Minister praised the country’s “good legislative framework” but said the government must ensure there are resources to carry out the mandate of preventing corruption and modernize government services to meet those demands.
Also speaking during the opinion session of the workshop which will focus directly on Chapters 2 (Preventative Measures) and5 (Assets Recovery) of the UNCAC, was Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at UNODC Jason Reichelt.
He pointed out that a major part of this reporting period is the government’s ability to recover stolen assets.
Reichelt believes Guyana has made tangible efforts to prevent corruption and set an example for other countries in the region facing similar challenges.