…move in keeping with Govt’s new age requirement
The life of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Board has been brought to an end and a new board will be appointed shortly.
Speaking with reporters today at the post-Cabinet media briefing, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said that in keeping with the government’s plans to establish an age requirement for persons who sit on state boards, agencies and commissions, the new CH&PA board, when appointed, will not include Hamilton Green.
Green was appointed as CH&PA Board Chairman last year. The former Mayor of Georgetown is over the age of 80.
The minister explained that the government is seeking to strike a balance between efficiency and age. “We do not believe age is deterrent in and of itself but we do believe that we have many younger persons who are there and are competent as well, to carry out these duties and we believe they should be given a chance,” the minister said.
“It is no disrespect or no disregard to the work that is being done by these persons (who held the position) but we do believe that we have to also create upward mobility for (younger) persons who are in the system,” Harmon added.
The government, at the end of 2016, commenced a review of all government boards, agencies and commissions as part of paving the way for upward mobility of younger persons to lead these bodies.
Former Chancellor, Justice Cecil Kennard, now outgoing head of the Police Complaints Authority was the first elder professional that was asked by the incumbent administration to step down.
Kennard explained in the media that he was disturbed and upset about government’s decision since he has devoted over 50 years of service to the country.
Even more shocking, Justice Kennard pointed out, is that Government is yet to formally indicate to him its reasons for wanting him to retire, as he said he heard that it was an age issue through the media.
The former Chancellor of the Judiciary believes that age is not a practical reason for asking someone to retire as age does not render someone incompetent or incapable of executing his/her duties.
Dr David Hinds, a political commentator and Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) – one of the smaller parties in the coalition Government – had posited that an “unhealthy precedent” is being set in this matter.
“In a country that is woefully short of competent people to staff its expanding bureaucracy, we should not be in the business of firing people simply because they are getting old,” he reasoned.
President David Granger has since apologized to Kennard for asking him to leave at such short notice. He noted that it had nothing to do with his performance but that his administration is trying to build a pool of expertise among the younger generation.
“We are simply trying to give other persons the opportunity to serve,” Granger pointed out.
Down but not out
Meanwhile, while Hamilton Green may down, he is certainly not out as he is set to benefit from his “Prime Ministerial” pension package which is being facilitated by the incumbent Government for his services as Prime Minister between the period of 1985 and 1992.
The pension is to be based on the salary of a current Prime Minister – a salary Green did not earn. In addition, Green is to receive the full benefits of a former President – a position which he never held.
Government came under heavy criticism for advancing legislation in Parliament to enact Green’s pension Bill.
Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) had in a strongly worded missive, stated that the Bill is “vulgar, politically partisan and reeks of cronyism” and has no basis for justification.
The transparency body said since the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition assumed office, it has been “unashamed and apologetic about lining the pockets of politicians and friends of the party.”
Moreover, TIGI had expressed shock “that in such critical times when citizens are faced with an upsurge in violent criminal assaults on their persons and property, unemployment, economic hardship and high cost of living; the government finds time and effort to craft legislation to benefit one controversial individual of nebulous contribution.”