…says DC lawyer at symposium
The most important thing to acknowledge about corruption is that you can have all the laws and regulation in place but if you do not have the leadership and personal conviction to not steal from the public coffers none of it matters.
This was the profound and succinct warning underscored by Vicky McPherson as she interacted with participants of a symposium on public corruption and the oil resource curse venued at the Guyana Pegasus.
Mc Pherson of the Global Energy and Infrastructure Group and the Africa Practice Group at the International Law Firm Greenberg Traurig was at the time responding to questions in relation to external pressures placed on smaller developing countries which inherently forces corrupt acts.
Mc Pherson told participants it is for these reasons she underscores the importance of the role of civil society and a free press in all of this.
According to Mc Pherson, the determining factor as to whether Guyana’s public figures will succumb to the temptations of corruption is “whether or not civil society is active and vocal in development of that industry and whether the press will report what it finds if it’s doing its job.”
Based in Washington DC but married to a Guyanese, the international legal powerhouse in the oil gas sector sought to impress on those engaged in the development of the industry the fact that there will be some levels of corruption that persists since at the end of the day it reflects a personal choice on the part of that corrupt individual.
She was adamant however that this must diminish civil society and the free press role in demanding transparency.
The Washington DC based Attorney-at-Law specializing in the oil and gas sector was also questioned on the controversial move on the part of the Donald Trump Administration to repeal the Dodd Frank Act—legislation enacted by the Obama Administration to guard against US oil companies exploiting countries such as Guyana through their contractual and other arrangements.
Meanwhile, David Holukoof another of the eminent international panelists in Guyana for the two-day confab also sought to weigh in on the need for there to be leadership at the very top in the fight against corruption in public office.
He drew reference to the inaugural address by Bahamian Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis at the opening ceremony of the 38th Conference of Head of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
In his address, Prime Minister Minnis had cautioned that government ministers found to be accepting bribes and other payments as part of any corrupt practice will be fired immediately.
According to the Canadian based oil and gas expert, it was refreshing to hear “a leader in region talk so openly about it with apparent conviction.”