Working Peoples Alliance (WPA’s), Executive member, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, has resigned from his Ministerial position.
This was confirmed by President David Granger, who on the sidelines of a ceremony to swear in four High Court Judges and one Appeal Judge at State House on Wednesday morning said that he was in receipt of Roopnaraine’s resignation letter since Sunday last but he has “not accepted it”.
“I have to meet with Dr Roopnaraine to discuss certain matters with him and when those discussions are ended if he wishes to speak with the media he will speak with the media but right now Dr Roopnaraine remains a member of the Cabinet,” the President said.
Roopnaraine’s resignation comes Less than 2 months after he was reshuffled from the substantive portfolio of Education Minister to the helm of the Public Service department located within the Ministry of the Presidency.
In a telephone interview with Inews, Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr David Hinds said that Dr Roopnaraine had engaged in a full discussion with the party over the weekend concerning his resignation.
“Dr Roopnaraine consulted fully with the WPA in arriving at his decision. Ultimately it was his decision but he consulted fully with the WPA and the WPA fully supports his decision, after listening to him and listening to his reasons, we fully support his decision to resign from the Parliament and the Cabinet,” he told Inews.
Hinds’ refrained from disclosing what were the reasons for Roopnaraine sending in his resignation but he highlighted that after the President meets with him [Roopnaraine] and accepts his resignation, “the WPA will speak to the media and at that point we would release Dr Roopnaraine’s letter which was sent to the President.”
Hinds noted that the Parliamentarian will remain a full member of the WPA and that the party will still remain within of the governing coalition A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC).
Moreover, when asked whether the party would seek to have another member replace Dr Roopnaraine, since he was representing the WPA in the coalition , Hinds said that “…one would anticipate that after the President would have accepted Dr Roopnaraine’s resignation he would ask us to nominate a replacement for him and in that case we are prepared.”
Roopnaraine was appointed Minister of Education in 2015, when the Coalition Government won the General and Regional Elections. However, On June 13, 2017 –the anniversary of the assassination of political activist, Walter Rodney, which is considered a sacred day for the WPA- the government announced that Dr Roopnaraine will be removed from the post of Minister of Education and sent to head a department within the Ministry of the Presidency with responsibility for the public service.
To date, no clear and justifiable reason had been given for Dr Roopnaraine’s reassignment and many had speculated that it was because of his deteriorating health. However, the Former Education Minister denied those assumptions, while maintaining that he had been consulted two days prior to his ‘relocation’.
His resignation also comes on the heels of concerns raised by the WPA that they, as well as other parties, are being sidelined by the current APNU/AFC Government in their decision-making process.