Aug 312009
 August 31, 2009  Posted by  Breaches, Govt, Non-U.S., Surveillance, Workplace

Arif Bulkan reports on the use of polygraph testing in Guyana:

In the midst of all the gripping revelations coming out of a Brooklyn courtroom alleging corruption at the highest levels of the government of Guyana, another drama involving corruption has been unfolding locally. However, this one involves a few far down on the totem pole, against whom the government has mandated ‘integrity testing’. In May 2008 the public first learnt that a private American firm was conducting polygraph testing at the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), as a result of which nine staff members were subsequently dismissed. Polygraph testing re-surfaced recently, when earlier this month it was disclosed that a further 19 law enforcement officers were sacked after failing the tests. The rationale proffered by the government for these tests was the necessity to ensure that “individuals working in certain departments were of high and sound integrity”. (Stabroek News, Aug 7, 2009) Dr Luncheon revealed further that the government is committed to institutionalize polygraph testing – but only among the operational arm of the state and government agencies, while ministers and permanent secretaries would be immune. In attempting to defend this policy Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee in a letter to Stabroek News (August 21) questioned who would want to oppose integrity testing, given the complaints by ordinary people regarding corruption “within certain levels of the public service”. However, despite the Minister’s dismissive tone, mandatory integrity testing is highly problematic and raises a slew of legal and constitutional issues.

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