HE Ambassador of the United States of America, Sarah-Ann Lynch, HE the British High Commissioner, Jane Miller OBE, HE Canadian High Commissioner, Mark Berman, and HE Ambassador of the European Union, René van Nes commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention against Corruption.
This year’s International Anti-Corruption Day highlights the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development. Globally, 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. As such, we underscore the importance of ensuring improved accountability, increased transparency, and the dismantling of corruption in all its forms to build a more inclusive future for all.
Governments at all levels, all around the world, should honor 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. Strengthening legislative frameworks to deter corrupt practices, promote transparency, and uphold accountability is a key step in addressing corruption.
In Guyana, the government has held anti-corruption workshops and developed an anti-corruption manual. Also, recent amendments to the Representation of the People Act have been made to try to further promote fair and transparent elections. In addition, the revised Natural Resource Fund Act allows for increased transparency and improved management over Guyana’s natural resource wealth. Importantly, amendments to Guyana’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism legislation may clear its 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.
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. As 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. Governments alone cannot solve this social disease, however – civil society and the private sector must also do their part to work collectively with governments to eradicate corruption at all levels.
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.