‘I didn’t request it’ says Dr Roopnaraine on removal from Education Ministry

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WPA was not consulted 

Dr Roopnaraine flanked by reporters before the sitting of the National Assembly
The Working Peoples’ Alliance (WPA) the political party that Dr Rupert Roopnaraine represents in the coalition A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government was not consulted on his removal from heading the Government’s largest Budget Ministry to heading a Ministry within the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP).

Dr Roopnaraine confirmed this minutes before today’s sitting of the National Assembly was convened but was evasive as reporters attempted to get clarifications.

According to the Former Minister of Education, “I didn’t request it,” the move—seen as a demotion by many—to the Ministry of the Presidency.

He told reporters, “your serve at the pleasure of the President.”

The Minister did indicate to reporters staking out the sitting of the National Assembly that “it’s a new challenge…Well I must say I am looking forward to the new Ministry.”

Recalling his tenure at the Education Ministry, Dr Roopnarine told media operatives, “I did, I believe, the best I could in the education Ministry, we got some things achieved. “
He declined to offer a comment on speculations that the move was in relation to his declining health.

The Minister also confirmed for media operatives that the WPA—the party he represents in the APNU/AFC coalition—was never consulted and instead pointed to a meeting with the President, Head of State David Granger, at which point the request was made.

The announcement of Roopnaraine’s demotion comes on the same day of Dr Walter Rodney’s 37th death anniversary.

WPA executive, political activist and professor, Dr David Hinds has since indicated that the party will be writing the President expressing its concerns about the shake-up and to request a meeting.

According to Dr Hinds, one of the party’s concerns relate to the lack of consultations.

Meanwhile Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland at the beginning of the sitting of the Assembly formally indicated to the members of the House, the creation of the Ministry of Public Service to be headed by Dr Roopnarine.

Dr Scotland, read out the instrument issued under the Ministry of the Presidency designating Dr Roopnarine as Minister of Public Service effective June 14, 2017 and shall remain a member of the Cabinet Counsel of Ministers.

Minister Nicolette Henry, who has since been elevated to the substantive post of Education Minister this past week, declined to speak with media operatives when approached.

The announcement of the Cabinet reshuffle was announced by government this past week by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon who stated that President David Granger had full confidence in the ability of his Ministers and in Roopnaraine.
At the time of the announcement, he said that Roopnaraine’s transfer followed a discussion the former Education Minister had with Granger.
“The President further briefed Cabinet that a Department under the Ministry of the Presidency will be created to oversee innovation and reform in the education sector. This Department will be under the President. In the meantime, Minister within the Ministry of Education, Minister Nicolette Henry will continue to perform the functions of the office of the Minister until further notice,” he said.

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