Corruption a major problem in Guyana – US State Dept

4

BY EDWARD LAYNE

The United States Department of State says corruption continues to be among the leading human rights problems facing Guyana.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015, released by the department recently, also chronicled other human rights violations.

“There remained a widespread public perception of corruption involving officials at all levels, including the police and the judiciary,” the report said.

usIt noted however that the government responded to these reports, but did not elaborate.

The report also stated that while the law requires public officials to declare their assets to an Integrity Commission, the commission has not been constituted.

It added that the law sets out both criminal and administrative sanctions for nondisclosure to the commission by public officials, but, no such publication or convictions occurred during the year.

Extra-judicial killing

The report cited as another significant human rights violation in Guyana is extra-judicial killings.

“The most significant human rights problems were arbitrary killings by the government or its agents… there were several reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings during the year,” it stated.

It added that other human rights problems included lengthy pretrial detention, an age old problem in Guyana.

Police abuse

Addressing the issue of police excesses, the report stated that there was a lack of independent and transparent procedures for handling allegations of abuses by security force members.

“Prosecutions when pursued were extremely lengthy, and convictions rare, leading to a widespread perception that security force members and government officials enjoyed impunity,” it noted

The document pointed to the July 2015 shooting to death of alleged smuggler Charles Caesar by a member of the now disbanded Berbice Anti-Smuggling Squad (BASS) while attempting to arrest him.

Police reported that Caesar was suspected to have smuggled illegal goods into the country and attempted to run away to avoid arrest.

On the issue of torture, the report stated that while the laws in Guyana continue to prohibit such acts, there were reports alleging mistreatment of inmates by prison officials as well as allegations of police abuse of suspects and detainees.

Prison conditions

The report said that prison and jail conditions, particularly in police holding cells, were “harsh and potentially life threatening due to gross overcrowding, physical abuse, and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care.”

The Prison Service reported that, as of October 2015, there were 1944 prisoners in five facilities with a combined design capacity of 1640.

“Overcrowding was in large part due to a backlog of pretrial detainees, who constituted approximately 11.3 per cent of the total prison population,” the report stated.

Police and security apparatus

The report also pointed to the lack of adequate training, poor equipment, and acute budgetary constraints severely limiting the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) effectiveness as well as corruption within the force.

“There were reports of corruption in the police force. Authorities charged and brought to court 23 GPF members for various crimes, including robbery, simple larceny, bribery, and indecent assault.

According to the Caribbean Development Report commissioned by the UN Development Programme, public confidence in the police force was very low.

It however noted that efforts were being made to address some of these issues.

 Same-sex union

The report highlighted archaic laws which make consensual same-sex activity between adult men illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison.

It stated that anal intercourse is punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison, regardless of whether the intercourse is between persons of the same sex.

“Activists reported that it was more common for police to use the law to intimidate men who were gay or perceived to be gay than to make arrests,” the report cited.

The law also criminalises cross-dressing. In October a male domestic worker was convicted for cross-dressing.

Freedom of speech and press

On the issue of freedom of speech and press, the US State Department said that while the government generally respects the laws which provide for Freedom of Speech in Guyana, there were attempts at state censorship during 2015.

“In August the prime minister issued a directive that all headlines in the state-owned print media (Guyana Chronicle) be first scrutinised and approved by his office before they are published. The directive was a response to a headline criticising the government,” it noted

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who has oversight responsibility for the state media, was harshly criticised for this action.

He had also attempted to intimidate the young Journalists who wrote the article headlined: “Gov’t blunders on Budget Estimates …violates laws assented to by President Granger” in which the government was criticised.

It meanwhile highlighted that government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority. (Guyana Times)

 

 

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Ok …at least somebody is looking and observing.
    Be patient time will reveal what is attempted to be overlook and shamlessly cover up.

  2. This is nothing new! We don’t need a US State Department report to tell us that the Guyana Police Force is corrupt and that our Constitution is in need of Reform! Every Guyanese and Political knows this but lack the backbone and will to change this.

    The Government needs to be innovative and not adaptive to report like this. There is an opportunity that this new government can take advantage on and institute reforms!

  3. DK I wonder if they will last 5 years in office, The big ? I will ask is what will happen at the next elections? Will the ABC countries stand by and allow Guyanese to punish forever?we all condemned the 3P what has changed,,,,,

  4. Corruption a major problem in Guyana – US State Dept.
    You asked for change but got exchange of the worse kind.
    Bet your life on it put your neck on the chopping block all of you can talk cheese and peas but the PNC will never relinquish power now.
    Nagamookreee and Rumjhaatmookreee and WPA Mookreewala RopeyNarian will sit it out take their press beatings and grab their fat cat wages and perks..
    At their age they all know they stood no chance absolute no chance of running anything but their mouths but would appear PNC muzzled their mouths too.

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.