Former People’s National Congress Chief Whip, 74-year-old Lance Carberry, was recently reappointed Chairman of the Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil).
Carberry was reappointed despite President David Granger’s announcement that Government is reviewing its policy on age and retirement for State agencies, boards and commissions with a view of building a pool of expertise among the younger generation.
President Granger had made the disclosures on the heels of a major outcry over his administration’s decision to terminate the services of Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority Justice Cecil Kennard who is also over 70 years old.
Granger had argued that Justice Kennard is too old to be functioning and that his Government wants younger professionals to take over these key leadership positions.
“We are simply trying to give other persons the opportunity to serve,” the President provided as his justification.
He also indicated that former Mayor Hamilton Green, who currently heads the Central Housing and Planning Authority and is around the same age as Justice Kennard would also have to step down, in keeping with Government’s new age policy.
Carberry, an economist by profession, had served in the bauxite industry and had played a role in the establishment and development of the Iwokrama Rainforest Project. He is also well-versed in matters affecting the energy and environmental sectors of the economy.
Political commentator Dr David Hinds had argued that Government needs to be clear on its age policy, if it has one.
Hinds said that if Government has a policy on age, then it needs to make it known, while explaining the reasoning behind it.
The political analyst said if the Government really does have a policy where persons who are past a certain age should not occupy some posts, then it should formally announce it and explain to the public the reasoning behind it.
Failure to do so, he said, would open Government to the charge of selective targeting of officials, as appears to be the case with Justice Kennard.
“If there is a policy to remove people from some positions because they are too old, I would have a serious problem with it. Since when age determines competence? When I read the news story about Justice Kennard’s removal because of old age, I thought he was 100 years old and physically and mentally challenged. But, from all indications, despite his so-called old age, the man has been quite competent at what he does,” Hinds said, noting that if indeed he is being removed because of his age, then it is a clear case of age discrimination.
He said if Government is removing Kennard for some other reason, as could well be the case, then it should be honest enough and say so, rather than hiding behind age. (Guyana Times)