Civil society group Policy Forum Guyana, one of the organizations behind the recent call for greater government accountability and transparency, called the ensuing attack by the Irfaan Ali-led administration evidence. that their concerns are legitimate.
“Rather than attacking the message of liberation, government spokespersons attacked the messengers,” the organization said in a statement on Saturday as it called unpleasant what it described as harassment of elderly nuns. who run an orphanage, and the president of the society of the blind, people who care for and support the less fortunate in society to express their opinion.
Last Wednesday, the Policy Forum, Community Based Rehabilitation, East Coast Development Committees, Guyana Human Rights Association, Guyana Indigenous Peoples Organization, Guyana Society for the Blind, Guyana Workers Union, Red Thread, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc and the Ursuline Sisters in Guyana endorsed a statement questioning the pace of government and raising questions of accountability, particularly in the extractive sector.
The statement listed three examples of what it considered to be instances where the government was not accountable: 1) The Public Oversight and Accountability Committee’s “stripping” of the Natural Resources Fund Act; 2) reduce the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “to a rubber stamp”; and 3) the imminent appointment of Prem Misir as head of the Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GYEITI).
He also lamented that the reason the government doesn’t even engage in ‘semblance of consultation’ appears to be that the UNPA+AFC has lost all accountability as ‘punishment’ for the stalemate. five-month election in 2020.
The release sparked attacks from President Ali and several ministers, who questioned the groups’ legitimacy and accused them of selective advocacy.
In its statement yesterday, Policy Forum said the government’s response reiterated the PPP’s longstanding suspicion of civic organizations that seek to influence policy decisions but do not seek formal political power. He also said that the official response reiterates that the criterion of political legitimacy in Guyana remains the perceived position of organizations in the 2020 elections, while speed is favored over dialogue in political decision-making processes.
Policy Forum says it is a network of civic organizations that started in 2015 with the overall goal of strengthening electoral, environmental and financial accountability.