No form of governance affecting the citizenry can be a ‘private’ matter

Dear Editor,

Two separate messages on Sunday, October 2, 2011, somehow interlinked in my mind. The first was Christopher Ram’s welcome review of the Corporate Governance Code fashioned by the Private Sector Commission.

The second was TV’s ‘Eye on the Issues’ programme which featured a fledgling NGO called ‘Transparency Institute Guyana Inc,’ in which every citizen should seek to become a stakeholder.

Somehow during the latter’s discourse with host Yesu Persaud (possibly our most notable private sector leader) I began to reflect on whether I was ever aware of the Private Sector’s Corporate Governance Code before Ram’s timely portrayal; and, perhaps irrelevantly, wondered whether this allegedly ground-breaking document was of a type which should be scrutinised by an organisation like the Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. For certain the latter should not lend attention only to ‘public’ governance. Surely the drivers of economic growth are equally, if not more, eligible for investigation, a fact confirmed by their very volunteering of a ‘code of conduct.’

What may have been further pursued in the initial analysis referred to, however, is that since provision is made for accountability to shareholders, amongst others, no precedent action seems to have been taken to sample the views of the very shareholders while drafting this ‘private’ code. It is as if Caesar will account only to Caesar, with the populace being ignored. There must be some inherent contradiction wherein the players will appoint themselves to monitor and evaluate their colleagues, without in turn subjecting their own accountability to other legitimate stakeholders.

The case is therefore being made for an appointed body of competence to discharge that review role. Perhaps there is an opportunity here for Transparency Institute Guyana Inc to follow through with the argumentation that no form of governance which affects any section or category of the citizenry can be a ‘private’ matter; and that the declaration of a Private Sector Code of ‘Good Conduct’ offers its authors an outstanding opportunity to observe model standards of accountability – towards an organisation like Transparency Institute Guyana Inc.

Yours faithfully,
E B John

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