In his presentation at the awards dinner of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry last Thursday Mr Clinton Urling, the Chamber’s President included in his wish list for Guyana a stronger civil society. In the course of his presentation Mr Urling not only referred to the work of the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc but also echoed a recent call by that young organisation – made on the day Transparency International released its 2012 world Corruption Perceptions Index – for measures to enhance accountability, combat corruption and strengthen governance.
Mr Urling would most likely have been aware that only a few hours before he spoke the youth arm of the ruling party had attacked Transparency Institute, singling out its highly respected Vice-president Dr Anand Goolsarran for its vituperation, and severely chastising Transparency International for daring to include Guyana in its 2012 survey. Significantly, even if Mr Urling was aware of the attack, he offered no comment or defence of a civil society organisation in the presence of two Ministers of Government, Messrs Irfaan Ally and Robert Persaud.
One day later, PPP/C governance czarina Ms Gail Teixeira took the PYO vulgarity one notch down when she dismissed the 2012 CPI by stating that “only four persons were surveyed [by TI] as it related to Guyana.“ She even suggested that they must all be male! Surely anyone who knows anything about surveys would know that no sane person would regard a sample of four as reliable or representative of any population and that such a statement simply could not be right. Indeed, Ms Teixeira was wrong, very wrong.
The Transparency International website discloses that for its 2012 CPI with respect to Guyana, TI used four surveys, which in total, and even allowing for overlap, would have covered hundreds of individuals and organisations. The four surveys were Global Insight, World Bank’s Control of Corruption Index (WB), World Economic Forum and the International Country Risk Guide.
If this better information does not have any impact on Ms Teixeira and her “youths”, it is inevitable that any discourse in Guyana would continue to be backward-looking, uncivil and profoundly infected by manipulation and distortions. The leadership of the PPP/C must be in dreamland if it does not realise that for many Guyanese, the ‘C’ in PPP/C has long since ceased to represent any evaporated Civic and now, on empirical evidence as well as well-founded perception, unmistakably stands for Corruption.