In light of mounting calls for the Government to sanction Public Health Minister Dr George Norton over the highly controversial $12.5 million Sussex Street, Georgetown ‘drug-bond’ deal, President David Granger has pointed out that the issue is merely an “administrative error” and did not warrant any criminal liability.
Speaking on the weekly television programme – The Public Interest – the Head of State explained that at the time, pharmaceuticals were brought due to the high demands from hospitals across the country. He noted that after unfavourable proposals from the existing facility, the Public Health Minister opted to rent a facility that was in the city so that there can be easy access to the drugs for distribution.
“Those would have been mitigations for the action that was taken… So there was no criminality, it was a question of trying to get the job done and errors were made. But the Minister apologised and we have corrected those errors. As far as I’m concerned, we have now put in place a system which will prevent a reoccurrence,” the President stated.
According to the Head of State, following an investigation, Cabinet has considered recommendations made and has determined that henceforth, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure will oversee the rental of facilities for its sister-ministries.
“We learnt now that the subject ministry is not necessarily the best judge of the suitability of a particular premise or facility to be rented, and we have now moved that responsibility under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure,” the President declared.
In spite of several controversies which have embarrassed the APNU/AFC Government since it took office more than fifteen months ago, the Head of State posited that there will be no reshuffling of his Cabinet. He stated that the changes made at the beginning of 2016 are designed to improve Cabinet’s performance, those were, the creation of the Ministry Public Telecommunications and moving Tourism under the portfolio of the Business Ministry. (Vahnu Manickchand)