Outgoing Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) of the United States Embassy, Bryan Hunt, is of the view that there needs to be adequate conflict of interest legislation in place for Guyana to be deemed transparent and accountable.His comment comes one month after criticisms were levied over Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes’ current oversight of the mining sector, knowing that she has a history in mining and that upon taking office, she divested ownership of her mining operations to her children.The US Diplomat during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times said he believes Guyana needs to have ‘conflict of interest’ legislation that applies to all elected officials and senior public servants in order to ensure that conflicts of interest do not exist in the execution ofJunior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomestheir duties as well as to avoid perceived conflicts of interest from arising.“So I would urge the government, which has made a commitment to looking at these issues, to move forward as quickly as it possibly can, to put in place conflict of interest legislation that would apply to all public office holders, not only those in executive branch but members of the parliament, members of the judiciary, the senior public service, to make sure that we deal with this problem of perceived conflict of interests between people’s personal lives and their public responsibilities,” he outlined.Hunt went on to say that until this is done, there will continue to be problems regardless of which administration is in power in Guyana.Minister Broomes mining interests came under scrutiny last month after information surfaced suggesting she was granted another Mining Permit H43/MP/000 by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). However, Broomes at a subsequent press conference clarified that no new mining permit was granted, noting that it was a transfer of her dredge to her daughter, whose name is also Simona Broomes.US Deputy Chief of Mission Bryan HuntWhile Broomes, who spent some 28 years as a miner, is maintaining there is no conflict of interest since her mining interests are now being handled by her children, many still believe that once she is the government minister responsible for the mining sector, her presence could influence decisions in her children’s favour.However, when questioned about these public concerns, President David Granger had told this newspaper there is no need for the minister’s removal, noting that this will be done only if a conflict of interest situation arises.“We have a draft code of conduct and if any situation (of conflict of interest) were to arise, I’m very confident that she’d either be put in another place or she would demit office but that situation hasn’t arisen at the present time,” the Head of State remarked in response to the calls for Broomes’ removal.However, while the president has said he awaits a clear case of conflict of interest involving the minister, Guyana Times was able to obtain a copy of an ‘application for permission to operate dredge or specified machinery’ dated March 4, 2016, in the name of Simona Broomes. The document contained National Identification Number 11383803.Upon investigations this publication was able to confirm that the ID number is that of Simona Judie Broomes, the full name of the Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, contradicting what Broomes had earlier said, that it was her daughter who was named in those documents.On the other hand, the US official further underscored the importance to have public disclosure legislations to enhance transparency and accountability.“We need to see public disclosure legislation that is not only on the books but is actively enforced, again not just for the executive branch officials but across the board for all public office holders at all levels, all public servants at all levels, the judiciary, etc, so that we can be confident that people are fully disclosing what outside business interests they have and that they are taking the necessary steps to either divest themselves of those business interests or ensure that their public duties do not in any way benefit their personal business interests,” Hunt posited.He added too that such legislation is just as critical for members sitting in the Opposition as it is for those in Government.According to the outgoing DCM, Guyana has had a long-standing problem with transparency and in his opinion, among the basic problems is the fact that there is no Public Procurement Commission.He said that it is absolutely critical, as the country moves forward, to see the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) move immediately to appoint the membership or to put forward the names of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition’s membership so that Parliament can move expeditiously to approve the members put forward.“Without that Public Procurement Commission, it is going to be exceptionally difficult to ensure transparency throughout the procurement system here in Guyana,” he remarked.Moreover, Hunt posited that with Guyana entering phase where it is going to have a significantly increased state resource-base that needs to be managed effectively, government should not procrastinate on putting such measures in place.“We need to see some very quick forward action on these issues especially with the sector of increased oil and gas development, increased resources coming into the State’s treasury; we can’t afford to continue to operate as if these are not serious issues in Guyana because I think they have been serious issues for a long time, and the importance of these issues are going to grow” the outgoing US diplomat stated.
New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) Scoreboard of the World Twenty20 New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) Scoreboard of the World Twenty20 Super 10 Group 1 match between Afghanistan and England at the Feroz shah Kotla stadium here.England innings JJ Roy b Amir Hamza 5 JM Vince c & b Mohammad Nabi 22 JE Root run out (Rashid Khan/Mohammad Nabi)12 EJG Morgan* b Mohammad Nabi 0 BA Stokes b Rashid Khan 7 JC Buttler?c Mohammad Nabi b Samiullah Shenwari6 MM Ali not out 41 CJ Jordan c & b Rashid Khan 15 DJ Willey not out 20 Extras: (LB-6, W-8) 14Total: (7 wickets in 20 overs) 142 Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-42, 3-42, 4-42, 5-50, 6-57, 7-85Bowling: Amir Hamza 4-0-45-1, Shapoor Zadran 4-0-34-0, Mohammad Nabi 4-0-17-2, Samiullah Shenwari 4-0-23-1, Rashid Khan 4-0-17-2. MORE PTI ATK ATK