BY MICHAEL YOUNGE
Public Telecommunications Minister and Alliance for Change strong-woman, Catherine Hughes says that the Government of Guyana is still building cases against those who were allegedly found guilty of wrongdoings and misappropriation of funds under the former Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Administration.
Minister Hughes whilst speaking at a press conference hosted by the AFC sought to fiercely defend the audits occasioned and completed by the new coalition Government amidst growing public concern and private sector worry over the non-prosecution of persons whom the Government claimed were found culpable in a series of wrong doings against the State in the findings of the said audits.
Using her Public Telecommunications and Tourism Sectors as an example, Hughes said there was much work being done as Government was “scrutinising and ensuring that we are building a case”.
The Minister said too that “…for a legal case to be made, we have to go through a very specific series of steps which includes collecting the relevant information…processing the information” to ensure that it can stand up to scrutiny of the independent Courts of Guyana.
“We certainly do not want to have to go into a courtroom and to have cases thrown out for the want of proper evidence and for the want of proper analysis”, she remarked.
She advised that progress was being made in this respect and in general in regards to the reform and corrective agendas being pursued by the new coalition Government.
Minister Hughes admitted that there is need to address the amount of government bureaucracy that exists so that swifter action can be taken to achieve results.
Saying her experience as a Minister has been “exciting but not easy’ so far, Hughes reiterated that “Govt bureaucracy is a huge and heavy bureaucracy and in many parts it does not work and areas it takes too long”.
She explained that it was for the new Government to analyse why these structures do not work and therefore the audits were necessary. Hughes pleaded with the public to be patient as the Government examines “systemic failures” and correct them.
Despite making thunderous claims of corruption during the tenure of the opposition PPP/C in Government, the Government has so far failed to provide concrete evidence that links principals of the PPP and public sector professionals who served directly under its administration to massive corruption schemes.
While the audits which were partially made public show instances of administrative irregularities, few have recommended criminal changes or prosecution. As a matter of fact, most of the audits and their findings have been dismissed by key principals who view them as unprofessional and politically motivated to target PPP Executives.