Commonwealth recognizes Guyana's push for system to fight corruption in the new oil industry
By Kaieter News
Petroleumworld 05 07 2018
Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, has recognized Guyana's plea for assistance to establish a robust system before commercial oil production in 2020.
Baroness Scotland, who is in Guyana for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) workshop for regional judicial officers, addressed a
Press Conference yesterday at NCN studios.
“The government and the people of Guyana have been asking for assistance in terms of how we structure the new development so that it is in place before the money comes, the sort of guidelines and mechanisms which will make it very difficult for corrupt practices to grow and they will be building a resilient system and if we can, I know that Guyana wants to have the most robust system in the world that it can deliver,” Baroness Scotland explained.
The former United Kingdom Attorney General stated that the Secretariat is very determined to be right alongside to make sure Guyana shines. She noted that assistance will be based on available finances, disclosing that the Secretariat is facing budget cuts.
The Commonwealth's Legal Advisor, Shadrach Haruna, noted that any economy is prone to corruption and bribery especially when natural resources are involved.
“Countries where you have natural resources are always a problem with the management of such resources. What we have done actually is to see how we can assist the country develop very good procurement guidelines which also come from issues of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT),” Haruna stated.
He explained that it is critical to develop very robust procurement guidelines to assist with the procurement as well as the tendering procedures to ensure that there is transparency in tendering and the procurement of resources.
“What we have been doing is also training prosecutors, investigators and the procurement officers to prevent instances of corruption and where it happens how to respond to it,” Haruna noted.
Baroness Scotland noted that it absolutely critical that in going forward that members make sure that the systems are as robust as they can make them. Every jurisdiction is being challenged, according to her and the firepower needed to build some of the ammunition to fight crime and corruption is not present in the smaller countries of the Commonwealth.
“What we are trying to do is to pool that knowledge so that all of us have a similar opportunity to engage in this fight because what the criminals do is they know no boundaries. They have a great conspiracy, which is international and multinational. What we are trying to do is build a conspiracy of our own, but this time it is going to be a conspiracy of the just so we can fight them back better,” Baroness Scotland noted.
Notwithstanding the discovery of oil, the Commonwealth has been working with Guyana to ensure the fulfillment of a green state while meeting commitments to Paris climate change accord.
“We do have an opportunity now to work together on this regenerative model of development. To try and take advantage of the oil and gas that's there, but in a very sustainable way; not to do violence to our land and our oceans, but to be responsive and responsible. And it is a challenge, but I think the Government here in Guyana has made it clear that they wish to do that in a way that will be helpful,” Baroness Scotland stated.
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