Opposition Leader still to respond to Code of Conduct

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Leader of the Opposition and some civic organisations are still to provide their input on the Code of Conduct for Ministers of Government, Members of Parliament and other public officials.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon today, at a post – Cabinet press briefing noted that copies of the Code of Conduct were circulated to these parties since they were drafted.

“As of this morning we have not received formal comments from any of these bodies,” Minister Harmon said. The Office of the Prime Minister has lead responsibility for governance under which the Code of Conduct falls.

The Code of Conduct is similar to the Ministerial Code of Service that currently guides government ministers. Minister Harmon explained that the Ministerial Code of Service was created in May 2015 to guide the government when it acceded to office.

“It lists several values many of which find themselves into the Code of Conduct and those values are related to accountability, dignity in office, diligence, duty, honour, integrity, loyalty, objectivity, responsibility and transparency,” Minister Harmon pointed out.

The Code of Conduct will, “assist Ministers and Members of the National Assembly in the discharge of their obligations to the constituents and the public at large. It provides guidance on the values, the moral qualities that should govern the conduct of ministers and members in discharging their parliamentary and public duties.”

The Code of Conduct will eventually be incorporated in the Integrity Commission Act which is currently under revision for amendment. The revision of the Act includes strengthening the Act, “to give it some amount of teeth in the enforcement of what it is supposed to do.”

The Integrity Commission Act, which makes provision for the establishment of an Integrity Commission, orders that public officers disclose their financial assets and liabilities on or before June 30, each year.

The Act was agreed to on the September, 24, 1997. It provides for the formation of the Integrity Commission and makes provisions for the purpose of securing the integrity of persons in public life.

Meanwhile, Minister Harmon noted that if anyone has information of a Minister or any other public official violating the existing Ministers’ Code of Service, he or she should formally inform the government so the matter can be addressed.

Minister Harmon was addressing accusations made by the Leader of the Opposition against the Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, of selling firearm licences.

“I believe these are very serious accusations that are being made, and therefore if the Leader of the Opposition or anybody for that matter has information which seeks to impugn the character of a minister, then in fact, they should send something in writing to the government,” Minister Harmon said.

The minister added that the government has an agenda for the development of the country and it does not include the baseless “rant and rave” of sections of the society.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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