People’s involvement a key aspect of anti-corruption framework – Min. Teixeira

Anti-corruption legislation plays an integral role in building a democratic framework and fostering sustainable development.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira on Monday said the ‘eyes and ears’ concept is an important component in building out the anti-corruption framework.

The concept refers to a strategy that involves encouraging members of society to act as vigilant citizens and report any suspicious or corrupt activities they may observe.

Minister Teixeira was the keynote speaker on day one of the 9th Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) being hosted at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira

She pointed to the establishment of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) in 2021 to manage reporting and monitoring, in accordance with international anti-corruption policies and its role in fostering greater participation in the reporting process.

However, there is still a need for the involvement of persons at the grassroots level to strengthen the anti-corruption structure. 

“In every community in Guyana, there is a senior citizen who is watching like a hawk from their veranda or backstep what is happening in the community, what they are doing with the road, how much sand they are using, how much gravel, how long they work…we have to give credence to these persons who do recognise the value of money,” the minister noted.

She stressed that people need to be encouraged to become the eyes and ears of anti-corruption.

“We are to look at what kind of interactions, interventions [and] innovations to reward and to recognise the community reporters. I think we need citizen anti-corruption reporters to actually give that credibility and importance,” the governance minister added.

The minister also highlighted the value of citizen reporters in holding government and private sector agencies accountable.

She noted that it is imperative that people get value for their money, resources are utilised strategically and transparency and integrity permeate every transaction done in the interest of development.  

Another critical aspect of strengthening the democratic framework is ensuring that the country’s legislative and judicial systems are fully functional and effective.

A section of the gathering during the 9th Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies

“All this is part of building trust. If our people don’t trust the institutions, they’re not going to share information with you. No matter how much whistleblower legislation you pass, they’re just not going to. So, part of what we do is to build trust that the institutions work fairly and transparently. And this is an important challenge for us,” Minister Teixeira stated.

Established by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2015, the annual event brings together regulatory bodies, policymakers, heads of anti-corruption bodies, government officials, and development partners to assess national and regional anti-corruption efforts, and to facilitate interaction among members of the association.

The conference is sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC) and is hosted by a different delegate every year. It enables each country to get a fresh perspective on the impact of its anti-corruption legislation.

The first three days of the conference will see a combination of presentations and panel discussions by experts in anti-corruption fields, and networking events, while a day will be reserved for sightseeing to enjoy the pristine beauty of Guyana.