[www.inewsguyana.com] –Former Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) and member of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Juan Edghill has pointed out some ambiguities in the appointment of Amna Ally as Social Cohesion Minister and the responsibility that the portfolio entails.
Edghill, in a recent statement to the media, pointed out that the June 6 issue of the official gazette identifies Minister Ally as having responsibilities for “Ethnic Relations”.
He explained that such a responsibility should not be given to a government Minister, since the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) is a constitutional Body, tasked with investigating the Executive itself.
“This needs urgent clarification, since the Ethnic Relations Commission which is a constitutional body among its functions is to investigate actions taken by the Executive itself.The Constitution is clear; the ERC functions and discharges its responsibilities without the interference, input or direction from the Government of the day,” the Former PPP/C Minister stated in the release.
Concluding that Ally is responsible for the ERC, Edghill said “to have a Minister placed in charge of the Ethnic Relations Commission is to subject this duly appointed constitutional body to the directions of the Executive. This ought not to happen.”
It should be noted that Article 212 A of Guyana’s Constitution mandates the establishment of an ERC, with not less than five, but no more than 15 commissioners which would be determined by the National Assembly.
It is also stated that the ERC would be managed solely by a Chief Executive Officer and would report to the Speaker of the National Assembly.
“Its independence is guaranteed by the Constitution, ensuring its funding comes as a direct charge on the consolidated fund. Staffing and remuneration of staff is determined by the Commission and not the Government. The Chief Executive Officer and staff of the ERC should not take directions or instructions from any government official,” said Edghill.
The tenth parliament had named the new set of commissioners including a chairman to be in place at the ERC. However, they were never sworn in by former President, Donald Ramotar.