President David Granger at the sidelines of an event today at State House told media operatives that the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC), which applied to the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) for commemorative stamps to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Dr Cheddi Jagan, misinterpreted the purpose of the honour and that was responsible for the delay in getting the stamps out in time for the anniversary.
According to President “the persons who applied for that I think misinterpreted the purpose of the honour. The Government of Guyana supports honouring its former Presidents…we were concerned that the request should be put in the context of honouring President Jagan.”
He noted that it was not a postal function but a function of honouring a distinguished Guyanese.
“So there was a delay but we have approved the issuing of the stamps but the delay was caused by setting the context and ensuring that other deserving Guyanese would not be subject to arbitrary and adhoc recommendations” said the President.
While President Granger said the stamps were approved, a fixed date was not given as to when they would be released.
Last month, Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes announced that the Post Office would be issuing commemorative stamps to celebrate the former president’s 100th birth anniversary, following an arrangement with the CJRC.
However, the Research Centre never received the stamps from the Post Office to commemorate the birth anniversary on March 22, 2018.
According to a statement CJRC released to the media, no explanation was given by entity other than advising that it contact the Ministry of the Presidency.
After being accused of political interference, the Ministry issued a statement claiming that President David Granger will not allow national symbols to be used for private, partisan or political messages.
However, this was met with backlash from former Chairman of the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), Juan Edghill who called for the Post Master General and the Directors of the Agency to resign for allowing the Government to interfere and hijack a business transaction it had with a private entity.
Moreover, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall also said that the President’s intervention was unlawful and can be seen as another “authoritative” move.
“…The GPOC is not a Government department…they are not subject to Government’s supervision or control. It must also be unequivocally clear that any attempt by the Government, including the President, to interfere with the day-to-day activities and operations of the GPOC and its staff, would be unlawful, clear executive lawlessness and abuse of power” said Nandlall.
Among other things, Nandlall also posited that “The Ministry of the Presidency is free to and indeed, may consider itself duty-bound to commemorate the life and work of every former President. However, it has no authority to monopolize such activities. Therefore, other organisations are free to do likewise.”