Report on OAS anti-corruption visit for March plenary

A release from the OAS yesterday said that the review process that is currently being carried out by the Committee of Experts of the anti-corruption mechanism, MESICIC, will conclude with the adoption of the Guyana country report by the Committee at its next plenary meeting to be held in March 2014, in Washington DC at OAS Headquarters.

The release said that Guyana received, with its consent, a visit by the Commission of the OAS Anti-corruption Mechanism (Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption – MESICIC), as part of the review process carried out in accordance with the Methodology adopted by consensus by its Member States.

The Commission comprised the Director General of the Unit for Combating Corruption (ULCC) of Haiti, Col. Antoine Atouriste, the Director of Operations of the ULCC, Joseph Jean Figaro, and the Head of the Legal Department of the ULCC, Yvlore Pigeot, as well as the Legal Advisor to the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago,  Joan Ramnarine-Furlonge.

During the three days of work, the release said that members of the Commission met with the top officials and other representatives of the Audit Office, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Public Service Commis-sion, the Judicial Service Commission, the Integrity Commission, the Office of the Commissioner on Information and the National Procurement and Tender Administration. The intent of the meetings was to obtain complete information and reveal potential problems in the implementation of the Inter-American Convention. The release said that the visit also provided an opportunity to facilitate the obtaining of information related to best practices, and provided Guyana with the opening to benefit from or to request technical assistance. It is unclear whether any request was  made by Guyana.

According to the release, the Commission also had the opportunity to meet with civil society organizations, private sector bodies and professional groups to address issues related to the challenges facing the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of acts of corruption here; civil society’s views on the role of oversight bodies; conflicts of interest; systems for registering income, assets and liabilities; access to public information; as well as mechanisms for the participation of civil society in efforts to prevent corruption. A call by one of the groups that met the OAS team.. Transparency Institute Guyana Inc, for an end to a conflict of interest involving the Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh and his wife, has sparked heated responses here.

The release noted that MESICIC is a cooperation mechanism between States, with the participation of civil society organizations, in which the legal/institutional framework of each country is reviewed for suitability with the Inter-American Convention against Corruption as well as the objective results achieved therein.

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