New Govt to name Cabinet this week
The newly-elected David Granger Government A Partnership for National Unity-Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition says it is still deliberating on who will fill the ministerial positions and other key positions in its Government.
Speaking to the Guyana Times on Sunday afternoon, AFC General Secretary David Patterson told this publication that the deliberations team has not yet decided on the persons who will take those positions since the number of Ministries was still to be decided.
According to Patterson, the new Government was looking to have the number of Ministries reduced and as such, merges between some of the ministries have been suggested. He did not want to disclose, however, which Ministries were being considered for mergers.
However, while it is expected that the number of Government Ministries will be reduced, it has been explained that some new Ministries will be added in an effort to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to economic stability and progress.
Meanwhile, APNU General Secretary and now acting Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Joseph Harmon said that the coalition was still in intense discussion to decide on the ministerial positions. He noted that several persons have already been touted for key positions, but he could not disclose who those were and for which positions, stating that it was premature to do so.
Harmon, however, indicated that the Cummingsburg Accord was being followed and it was a guide to who was getting what as were the shadow portfolios which were held by the Members of Parliament in the 10th Parliament.
According to the Cummingsburg Accord, which was signed between the two parties on February 14, Valentine’s Day, the AFC would benefit from an enhanced prime ministerial position held by Moses Nagamootoo chairing the Cabinet. The AFC will significantly also hold 40 per cent of the Cabinet positions inclusive of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Tourism, Agriculture and Public Works.
Khemraj Ramjattan, Leader of the AFC, has been touted, Guyana Times understands as the person who will be in charge of the Home Affairs Ministry, while it is expected that Cathy Hughes will hold responsibility for Tourism. It is unclear who will head the Public Works Ministry from the AFC.
Former Finance Minister under the People’s National Congress (PNC) Government, Carl Greenidge has been mooted as the one to lead the Foreign Affairs Ministry with special attention to be placed on economic diplomacy, while Economist Winston Jordan, a former Director of Budget, has been tipped to head the Finance Ministry.
It is expected that Amna Ally, who served in the 10th Parliament as Shadow Minister of Education, will transition to hold that portfolio, with Nigel Hughes being tipped to become the next Attorney General.
Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Leader of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and Executive Member of APNU, is reportedly being considered for the position of one of the three Vice Presidents and Natural Resources and Environment Minister.
Speaking to Guyana Times on Sunday, when questioned on the veracity of that assertion, he related that it was too premature to confirm or deny such at this time. He noted that discussions were still ongoing and positions were still to be decided upon and settled.
The veteran politician, however, said that he was prepared and ready to serve Guyanese people and would do so in whatever capacity required of him.
Dr Roopnaraine said, however, that even as the coalition was still discussing the number of Ministries and nothing has been finalised, he would like to see the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry relocated elsewhere since it should not be in the same compound as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry currently has six other agencies under its umbrella, the Guyana Forestry Commission, Lands and Survey Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Protected Areas Commission (PAC); and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB).
Harmon said that the announcements should be made within days of the swearing-in, or as soon as the Constitution allowed since the Government had a packed agenda and wanted to start as early as possible.
In order for the Ministers to be sworn in, they would first have to be inducted as Members of Parliament. When Harmon was asked whether the new Government was considering convening Parliament before Independence Day, he replied, “Once it is possible for us to do that, I think we may. Parliament has been prorogued for far too long; it’s almost 10 months and so we need a reconvening as soon as possible.”
PPP/C to mount elections petition
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is moving to the High Court within the legally prescribed timeframe to mount an elections petition challenging the results declared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Saturday after Guyana went to the polls on Monday last to elect a new Government.
The Party, which is the oldest political entity in Guyana, is maintaining that it was cheated out of another term in office because of electoral rigging of votes cast by thousands of Guyanese and inaccuracies in the tabulation of final results by the local electoral body.
When contacted on Sunday, former President and now Opposition Leader Donald Ramotar confirmed that the PPP/C was taking active steps to institute legal proceedings against the Commission and all other necessary agencies with responsibility for the conduct and declaration of elections results here.
Ramotar said that the proceedings would commence as soon as the Party has completed all of the necessary preparatory work to have the matter filed, heard and tried.
The petition is likely to be presented by former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall in the courts.
When contacted, Nandlall would only say that work has commenced and the Party will do all that is legally necessary to ensure that recourse is had and justice is served.
He would not divulge details about the grounds for the court action or the quantum of evidence that the Party would have accumulated thus far, to support its accusations against GECOM.
Nandlall explained that the next few days were critical for the Party and referred all other questions about the PPP/C action plan to its General Secretary, Clement Rohee and the Party’s Executive en bloc.
Ramotar even though handing over responsibility for the state and citizenry to incoming President David Granger had maintained that he was never defeated at the polls, but was rather cheated.
In his last address to the nation as Head of State and President on Saturday, the Guyanese politician explained that his Party had requested that GECOM conducted a final count before declaring the elections results because of concerns his Party had about the accuracy of several Statements of Polls.
Ramotar said that the election results “were shrouded in controversy” as he appealed to thousands of Guyanese who voted for the PPP/C to remain calm in the face of widespread provocation “associated with triumphalism”.
The PPP/C has accused the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) , along with the election body of colluding on Polling Day, resulting in the Party’s failure to secure higher numbers.
He said while the Party has been illegally removed from office, it will remain steadfast in its commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy.
Ramotar, who is also an Executive Member of the PPP/C, said that Granger and the leadership of APNU/AFC coalition must ensure the preservation of peace, respect and protection for all citizens over the next few years regardless of their race, creed or political affiliation.
“As we enter into a new phase of our country’s political life, the PPP/C will continue to strive for a strong democracy, a cohesive society and a better Guyana,” he said in a statement to the media.
Ramotar stressed that adult suffrage appeared to be under attack in Guyana because of recent developments, pointing to worrying occurrences which could have easily undermined and subverted the will of the electorate who participated in the democratic processes to elect a new Government on May 11.
“The right to universal adult suffrage and its exercise of ‘one person, one vote’, which the PPP won for the Guyanese people in 1953, is again under threat,” he remarked.
Ramotar explained that the PPP/C requested the Elections Commission conduct recounts of ballots cast in various districts because of several irregularities which appeared to have compromised the integrity of the process, but it denied the Party’s repeated requests.
He maintained that his Party is convinced that if these recounts were conducted, it would have won the elections and the discrepancies would have exposed the rigging which took place.
“GECOM by its constitutional mandate and the observer missions, have made their pronouncements on the elections without taking into account the real concerns that have been brought to their attention by our Party,” he said.
CARICOM Chairman welcomes President Granger to the fold
THE Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairman, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Perry Christie has extended heartiest congratulations to President Granger on his election to the Presidency of Guyana. According to a press release, CARICOM also extended congratulations to the coalition of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance For Change (AFC) on its victory at the polls, a press release stated.
The release said further that “CARICOM praises the people of Guyana for the free and fair elections and on their discipline and patience as they awaited the final result of the polls.
“President Granger, the electorate has reposed their confidence in you and your coalition of parties, to carry them forward in their quest for sustainable development and continued improvement in their standard of living.
“CARICOM stands ready to support you and your Government in this regard.
“As a founding member of CARICOM and its headquarters country, Guyana plays a critical role in the integration movement. “We look forward to the fresh ideas and perspectives which you, Mr. President and your Government, will bring to the strengthening and solidifying of our Community.
“My colleague Heads of Government and I look forward to personally welcoming you, Mr. President, to the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, at the soonest possible opportunity.”