The Alliance for Change (AFC) believes that Minister of State Joseph Harmon has too much power and this may very well be the main reason for the escalating problems in which the coalition Government has found itself.
The party, which itself forms part of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, made the conclusion, after executives met on Sunday at a leadership retreat, as part of an ongoing effort to review the party’s performance and to discuss a number of issues of concern.
Among the matters discussed at the retreat was the issue of the appointment of a Ministerial Advisor on Business Development by the Minister of State and other revelations in the public domain.
In a statement issued on behalf of the party by Press Secretary for Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Imran Khan, the AFC said the continuing revelations arising out of the appointment of the Advisor on Business Development, and the issues surrounding it, have their roots in the “concentration of the powers of the office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency and the effective Head of Presidential Secretariat in a single person”.
“The responsibilities of each of the above portfolios are substantial and of critical importance to the smooth operations of the Government and would benefit from separate appointments,” the AFC said in the statement.
The party said it has mandated its leadership in Cabinet to have these issues raised and addressed as a matter of national importance.
“The AFC is committed to responsible and transparent governance and looks forward to the conclusion of the Code of Conduct for Government officials and the application of same.”
“The Alliance For Change reiterates its commitment to the coalition Government while recognising that the principles of good governance, transparency and equal opportunity are fundamental to the success of the coalition,” it continued.
Meanwhile, the party also pronounced on the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Working People’s Alliance leader Dr Walter Rodney, which is yet to be officially released to the public by President David Granger. The AFC said the Report should be released to the slain leader’s family and the party supported its early release to the public.
“The AFC is of the view that the Report affords the country an opportunity to address a difficult period of its history and hopes that it forms the basis for national healing and reconciliation.”
The party is of the view that the series of audit reports into apparent irregularities in various Government agencies should be supplemented by a review by experienced independent international forensic auditors and thereafter submitted for high-quality external professional independent legal advice with a view to proceeding to prosecution where warranted.