Guyanese citizens are optimistic about their country’s progress in combating corruption, although Guyana still faces major challenges to prepare itself to manage its newfound oil wealth.
Transparency International included Guyana in its Global Corruption Barometer for the first time this year, providing an important monitor of the country’s situation in the run-up to the 2020 elections. The study reveals that 40 percent of Guyanese believe that corruption is decreasing, and 67 percent believe that the government is handling the struggle well.
Reasons for their optimism include increased freedom of the media to criticise the government, the move to make petroleum contracts publicly available, and the dismissal of corrupt officials.
Other policies praised by the report are the introduction of anti-money laundering laws and the creation of various agencies to monitor corruption in public life.
Guyana has put fighting corruption at the top of its political agenda since the 2015 elections, when David Granger’s APNU-Alliance for Change coalition defeated the People’s Progressive Party that had held power for 23 years.
The PPP had become notorious for corruption cases involving members who used their political power to profit from state contracts and resources. Mr Granger triumphed on a platform that promised investigations into corrupt officials and the creation of institutions to promote government accountability.
However, Guyana has faced political uncertainty since Granger narrowly lost a no confidence vote in December 2018. After a lengthy court case found the vote valid, Mr Granger was compelled to call new elections by March 2020.