A country’s Parliament holds the power to prevent the mismanagement of State revenue and even institute punitive measures against leaders found to have mismanaged funds. However, former Parliamentarian, Charles Ramson is convinced that Guyana’s Parliament is too weak to hold the government accountable for abuse of oil wealth.

During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard, Ramson pointed out said that Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have often sought accountability from Government Ministers on various matters but in most cases, no answers are given. He noted that there is usually no repercussion whenever this happens.

Ramson said that he no trust in Parliament’s capabilities to monitor future oil and gas resources. He said this in light of the frequency, depth, and impact of the legislature’s current monitoring of the embryonic oil and gas industry.

The Oil and Gas Academic asserted that there is not a single person in the legislature who really understands oil and the industry. He stressed that the government should have made it a priority to get MPs on both sides of the House “up to scratch” on the fundamentals of the oil industry.

Ramson said too, that relevant industry experts should have been assigned to Parliament to assist and advise the nation’s MPs. The Guyana Standard was able to confirm with the Ministry of Finance and Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs today that there have been no moves in this regard. It was not even a thought for either party.

Taking the aforementioned into consideration, Ramson commented that overall, the government continues to avoid devoting enough resources to the monitoring, investigation, and prosecution of corruption in the extractive sector.

The politician is convinced that the government is perpetuating corruption.

He said, “This is why the government does not want to establish an effective office for the Commissioner of Information because they know the office has the power to get that information from those very public officials (when they refuse to answer in the National Assembly).”

Ramson, whose father—Charles Ramson Senior—is the Commissioner of Information, continued “In fact, the government has not budgeted for the rental of an office; it put aside no money for administrative staff, no money for utilities, no money for stationary etc. The only reason they have not removed the Commissioner is due to the fact the tenure of the office has Constitutional protections.”



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