Minister Lawrence’s stance consistent with making it clear corruption had no place in her ministry

Dear Editor,

The Stabroek News editorial of July 10, 2018, `Minister Lawrence’s corruption tirade ‘ illustrates the dangerous attitudes that are retarding progress in Guyana.

 According to the editorial, Minister Lawrence’ s trenchant statements are  “customarily preceded (or attended) by revelations of specific instances of malpractices and irregularity.” It is unclear whether ministers similarly situated have generally supported such public pronouncements by simultaneous disciplinary proceedings or prosecutions.

The reader is left to believe that Stabroek News has empirical evidence about ministerial tirades against corruption and their attendant identification of wrongdoers.

 Assuming that there exists such proof, must Minister Lawrence be guided by the past? Or better yet, must she be controlled by the actions of her predecessors? The editorial does not speak to the salutary effects of these past actions. It could not because Guyana is still afflicted by the rampant consequences of corruption.

 Indeed, over the course of many years Guyanese have been bedevilled  by the dishonesty of many in government. It is a drain on the national treasury and on people’s belief in themselves and the country’s future.

 The coalition government has vowed to fight corruption, and its savaging of the efficiencies and monies that Guyanese deserve. That tone has been sounded by the President, the Attorney General and other ministers. Surely, your newspaper is aware that the culture of an organization is set by the tone at the top. And you are, in all likelihood, practitioners of this particular ethic.

 Minister Lawrence ‘s tirade ( as you term it ) was consistent with making it clear that corruption had no place in her ministry and those responsible will be punished. There is no particular ceremony or drum roll that should accompany her strident statements as you seem to suggest.

 The law warns incessantly against conduct that is inimical to society. The essential aspect of this warning is that it must be transmitted in an intelligible and understandable way. Here her statements abounded in clarity and decisiveness.

 Your conclusion that “So that it is a question of making a pronouncement regarding the  outcomes … seeks to speak to … Minister’s concerns about corrupt practices in the MOPH … and not a thinly veiled aspect of a campaign strategy…” is inappropriate. All ruling governments are in a way campaigning to win the hearts and minds of voters. But this overarching goal should not be used to impugn genuine efforts to reform and innovate.

 It may be advisable for your respected newspaper to do some  investigative journalism to ferret out the irregularities in government. The Fourth Estate has evolved into not only reporting wrongdoings but also unearthing them, so that its credibility is enhanced.

 Yours faithfully,

 Derrick Arjune

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