Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds does not fully agree with the views recently expressed by Attorney-at-Law, Ralph Ramkarran to the effect that the APNU+AFC Government, like the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), lacks the desire to curb corruption and nepotism.
Dr. Hinds told Guyana Standard that there are some in the APNU+AFC Government who desire to curb corruption. He noted however that the collective fight against corruption is stymied by the absence of the political will to do what is necessary in this regard.
The University Professor said, “I really do think there is sincerity on this issue. But …it is impeded by a lack of political will. I agree with Mr. Ramkarran that because the thing has become endemic, it consumes all facets of the society including the very agencies that are being relied on to curb it. So, the appetite to (address corruption) also clashes with the enormity of the problem.”
Dr. Hinds continued, “Partisan considerations keep getting in the way of doing what is necessary to effectively tackle this difficult problem. Because corruption has such deep roots in society, curbing it requires a comprehensive approach. This would mean that some party members and supporters would get fingered in the process. But the political culture does not allow for this—party comrades who are loyal to the party are often protected.”
The political activist added, “The other barrier is the linkage of official wrongdoing to ethnicity and ethnic empowerment—ethnic imperatives get in the way. The PPP while in government, encouraged corruption among its constituency and the current government is under pressure to do likewise in the name of levelling the ethnic playfield.”
Dr. Hinds told this news agency that this is where the problem gets very sticky because the parties do not want to be perceived as standing in the way of “ethnic empowerment”. He believes that there is a tendency to see the corruption of one’s party or ethnic group as less horrifying than that of the opposite party and group.
In addition to this, the University Professor asserted that governments of all parties have not shown the political and intellectual capacity needed to solve the underlying causes of corruption. He named some of these causes to be poverty, unequal social and ethnic distribution of wealth, weak government institutions, inadequate compensation for government and state employees among others.
Dr. Hinds said, “There is a kind of intellectual and political laziness that passes for governance which has, in turn, failed to grasp the complexity of a country like Guyana. We come from a complex history which requires more nimbleness and creativity from leaders.”
The WPA Executive Member said that governments by their very nature are seldom agents of fundamental change. He said that those have to be imposed on them and this is where civil society organizations come in.
Dr. Hinds concluded, “I don’t think most of them are interested in corruption as a core problem. We have too many single-issue organizations which do not see the linkage between their immediate causes and something as egregious as corruption. It is a very sad failing.”