Special to the AmNews

When general elections are held in the Caribbean trade bloc headquarter nation of Guyana later this year or early in the next, the issue of runaway corruption is likely to take center stage. If anyone ever had any doubts about the extent of graft and greed involving top officials, just pay attention to what an Australian investment company said this week.

Apparently frustrated by delays in getting things done in the mineral-rich country of 730,000, Perth, Australia-based Troy Resources said in a statement that it absolutely won’t pay any bribes to government officials and regulators to get things done in relation to a large gold mine it is preparing to open in the west of the country next year.

This announcement was made because the company is subject to Australian laws on graft, transparency and corruption whether it is operating at home or abroad.

Troy Resources more than hinted that some key documents officials should have signed off on already have not been attended to expeditiously, so it took the unusual step of going public with its complaint in a newspaper advertisement about plans for the mine and the way the company operates at home and abroad.

“It should be noted that any form of payment or inducement to individuals and organizations to expedite, seek favors, get unfair advantage or to circumvent official procedures in any country of operation is unlawful under Australian corporate law, and any breach is regarded as a serious crime, which may result in a prison sentence for any company officer engaging in this practice,” the statement reads.

The statement comes as the firm announced that it has already spent $5 million on heavy equipment it will need at its mine in the western jungles, while it awaits the signing of the mining agreement with the Guyanese government to allow it to begin mining as planned in 2015.

The firm recently announced that it had secured $87 million in financing to construct its open-pit mine, processing plants and tailings ponds but warned that it is not in the habit of paying inducements to get things done.

The Miners Association, of which the company is a member, issued a statement this week saying that it is quite “aware of the frustrations” Troy is experiencing, noting that it has raised the issue at recent meetings with executives.

Association spokesman Colin Sparman said that the company has faced a lot of hurdles but is determined not to bribe anyone to get things done. “They have told us that they don’t do things that way and are very frustrated with the red tape in Guyana,” Sparman said.

Opposition parties and rights groups have persistently complained about the level of corruption in the country. The issue is the main reason why a parliamentary opposition party successfully filed a no-confidence motion against the government last month. The issue is to be debated in the opposition-controlled, 65-member National Assembly in early October. A successful vote will result in general elections in 90 days, approximately two years before elections are constitutionally due.