GWI Head relieved of duties, asked to proceed on leave

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Managing Director of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard Van West-Charles

Managing Director of the Guyana Waters Incorporated (GWI), Dr Richard Van-West Charles has been relieved of his duties and asked to proceed on leave until October 29, 2020.

This is according to the new Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal.

Croal, during a telephone interview, related that Chair of the GWI Board Dr Garvin Cummings have written to Van-West Charles instructing him to proceed on his accumulated leave.

Additionally, he was instructed to hand over all property and records belonging to GWI in his possession.

Van-West Charles’ contract would come to an end in October of 2021.

Minister Croal explained that this decision was taken since the Ministry is heading in another direction in keeping with the restructuring and vision of the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.

Minister Colin Croal

Back in June, Van-West Charles – son in law of the late LFS Burnham – joined the APNU/AFC Coalition in calling for the March 2 General and Regional Elections to be scrapped following irregularities. Van-West Charles was appointed CEO of GWI on October 1, 2015.

Meanwhile, Minister Croal further related he also had to relieve six other employees of his Ministry because of the political nature of their appointment. He noted that the staffers – Communications Officer Andrew Weekes, Technical Assistant Remington Nelson, Personal Assistant Leon Castello, Confidential Secretary Sandra Booker, Personal Security Nelson Inniss and Advisor to the Minister Carmichael Thorne – were all political appointees in the Minister’s Secretariat.

“We are doing realigning and we are also shaping the Ministry in the direction we would want it do it. Every department is being reviewed and so obviously at the Secretariat myself and Minister (Susan) Rodrigues, we need to be comfortable with our Secretariat to function,” he explained.

Andrew Weekes

Weekes had been campaigning for the APNU/AFC Coalition and was employed as Communications Officer in spite of the Ministry having a Public Relations Department with one Public Relations Officer and two assistants.

Weekes was brought on board by then Housing Minister Annette Ferguson in January 2020 and given a contract for one year. He was being paid some $203,2020 with a $15,000 allowance.

According to the new Minister, there is no evidence of Weekes doing any work for the Ministry.