Oil and corrupt politicians spell disaster to Guyana
By Kaieteur News
Petroleumworld 10 06 2018
– no leader of Guyana should have integrity issues, says Ramson
Attorney at Law Charles Ramson, thinks this is an important lesson that Guyana should learn from oil producing countries.
Ramson, who recently expressed interest in becoming PPP/C Presidential Candidate, said as much during a recent presentation he made at Moray House.
However, the aspiring leader made additional points during an interview yesterday.
Ramson noted that for many years, countries like Angola, Chad, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela scored very low in clean government practices. He said that that is according to reports by Transparency International.
It has been reported that in these countries, public contracting in the oil sector is plagued by revenues vanishing into the pockets of Western oil executives, middlemen and local officials. Read more: https://www.resilience.org/stories/2004-10-19/oil-producing-nations-rank-high-corruption/.
Ramson also cited a 2015 international news article which stated “6 out of 10 top oil-producing countries are under serious corruption risk.” Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/6-out-of-10-top-oil-producing-countries-are-under-serious-c
He said that with the overwhelming evidence, Guyanese should not take chances leaving the nation's future in the hands of politicians with chequered pasts.
Ramson said, “We all know that the overall net effect of corruption by persons holding public office is damaging to any country. Oftentimes, the corrupt public officials point to roads, schools, bridges, and buildings being built with the country's oil money to say ‘this is what we spent our money on' but many times that is just the vehicle of corruption for public officials and contractors to become very wealthy very quickly while the income of the ordinary citizen remain relatively low. Those examples are numerous as well. This is yet another reason why Guyana's next election is so important.”
Ramson noted that in 2020, the same year of election, Guyana will join the list of oil producing countries, “but we do not need Guyana to join the list of highly corrupt oil producing countries. Therefore, no leader of Guyana should have integrity issues.”
The Oil and Gas Academic stressed that it is very difficult for a corrupt country to develop.
“It is pretty straightforward that every dollar which makes its way to any corrupt public official other than by their official salary is less money available to improve the lives of citizens. But another way how corrupt practices damage a country is that it discourages the critical foreign direct investment needed not just for the transfer of capital but for the transfer of technologies, knowledge, and skills.
“Guyana desperately needs to become a high-income industrialized country. Guyana is competing against all other countries around the world for Foreign Direct Investment so when it comes time for an investing company to make a choice about where to invest, they will choose the not, or less, corrupt country because it means they will have to pay less bribes and will be able to use that money as capital to make greater returns.”
Ramson said too that corruption also increases migration rates.
The Attorney at Law posited that, “the crime rate is about deterrence and deterrence is about conviction rates. Once the conviction rate is low, then criminals are far more likely to take the risk to commission a crime. In Guyana, our conviction rates are low because, among other things, corruption infiltrates the investigation and prosecution process so magistrates/judges do not have enough evidence for a conviction. Without that feeling of safety Guyanese will continue to leave our shores in droves, especially the educated ones.”
Ramson said that corruption also occurs where there is a perversion of fairness through the furthering of a political agenda of a preferred group. He said that that form of corruption destroys countries because it fester an atmosphere of antagonism and conflict.
“So if you are a president and you choose your own interpretation of our constitution instead of what has been the mutually accepted interpretation over the last 20-plus years, then that is a form of corruption. If you are a judge and you give decisions which support the perversion of the spirit of the constitution which underpins the political parties working together then that is a form of corruption. If you are a speaker of parliament and only or mainly see the wrongs of the opposition then you are part of the problem. If you have responsibility for fighting corruption but only investigate and prosecute one political group and ignore totally the corruption from the side that appointed you when it is clear as day that their recently acquired assets do not match their declared income, then that is a form of corruption,” said Ramson
“And who suffers the most? The ordinary man, who put his faith in these so-called leaders of our society who took an oath before God to serve them faithfully and they have betrayed the people and in turn they have betrayed God.”
Ramson said that unless there is a strong independent integrity commission with investigating and prosecution powers then there is no serious attempt to control corruption. orruption-risk-2015-6.
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