…says need for strong ministerial code of conduct clearly emphasised
The need for the existence of a strong ministerial code of conduct was clearly emphasised with the most recent fiasco involving the junior Minister of Natural Resources Simona Broomes.
This is according to executive member of the Working People’s Alliance – a party within the coalition Government — Dr David Hinds, who also expressed disappointment that so far only one official, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, has publicly addressed the matter.
Hinds, also expressed that while he is mindful that errors of judgement happen, the behaviour of the minister is a worrying one. He expressed the belief that had the minister been a private citizen, she would not have behaved in the manner depicted in the surveillance video.
“It is one of the worrying characteristics of the top echelon of this Government and (of) previous ones. They seem intoxicated by the power they have, and use it simply because they have it and could use it. Part of it, I think, has to do with their unfamiliarity with political power that is born of a lack of proper preparation for high office,” Hinds declared.
“I have read where some defenders cite the minister’s hard work and forthrightness as her assets. But effectiveness as a minister is not licence for bullyism. At the very least, the Government, the President and the party to which the minister is affiliated should publicly disassociate themselves from such behaviour,” Hinds cautioned.
He stressed the importance of leadership by example from those in leadership positions, and noted that throwing one’s weight around as a minister and then telling a story that is at odds with the available facts is, at the end of the day, “official bullying.”
“In the final analysis, this episode reinforces the need for a serious Code of Conduct for Ministers. It also signals that those entrusted with public power must manage it better. Our country is mired in lawlessness and incivility at all levels, and if we are to pull ourselves out of it, those who are in leadership positions must lead by example,” Hinds chided.
While a Code of Conduct for Ministers was gazetted last year June, it was heavily criticised for being weak. Specifically, the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) had stated, after reviewing the draft, that some of its most critical recommendations, including penalties for specific breaches, have been ignored.