Contending that the majority of dismissals under the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) administration are based solely on political and racial persuasions, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo is demanding that a general review be conducted on all those terminations, and to correct all errors.
During a recent news conference, Dr Jagdeo challenged President David Granger to practice what he preaches, reminding him of his pristine promise to protect public sector professionals. Indeed, upon assumption to Executive Office, President Granger made it clear that public sector workers should have no reason to fear losing their jobs once they acted professionally.
He emphasised that political hacks and appointees however will be at risk of being dismissed. Pointing to several incidents as evidence, Jagdeo asserted that the President did not keep his word: “The exclusion based on politics and race has never been as bad as this and we have tons of cases to prove that,” he posited. Providing one example, he made reference to the situation involving the dismissals at the New York City (NYC) Consulate.
Earlier this year, the government got much criticism following the decision to send home five employee of the Guyana Consulate in New York. Jagdeo contended this is one of the most glaring cases that points to the political and racial discrimination being meted out to professionals in the public sector and Foreign Service.
He pointed out that MR Khan, one of the Indo-Guyanese employees sent home, has more than 40 years of diplomatic service with various Guyanese governments. Yet on the other hand, Brentnol Evans, who is Afro-Guyanese and a political appointee under the previous government, was retained.
“Mr Evans has been a member of the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) for ages and he is a political appointee and he is still there. The career officer Khan who is removed and five other persons, four of Indo-Guyanese origin and one an Afro-Guyanese, who was seen as sympathetic to us was removed from the office,” Jagdeo exclaimed.
He contended that there are many other situations where this incongruity is being practiced, and in this regard he lambasted the government for hiding behind the rhetoric of “social cohesion”.
“The rhetoric must match practice for it to be believed,” he stressed, calling on the government to lay out a clear pathway to social cohesion, particularly in view of the country’s 50th year as an Independent nation.
“I hope the President does not miss the opportunity to have a review of all those people who were terminated for political reasons, if they are black and they support the PPP/C or because of their race. He should have a review of this to say ‘I am going to correct this because I want my word to match the practice in my government’,” he expressed.
Among those who have been fired or forced to resign since the coalition’s assumption to office are the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Permanent Secretary Nigel Dharamlall; the former Head of the National Toshaos Council, Yvonne Pearson; former Permanent Secretary of the Local Government Ministry Collin Croal; Guyana Water Incorporation Chief Executive Shaik Baksh; CEO of the Guyana Sugar Corporation Dr Raj Singh and other members on the board of directors, Geeta Singh-Knight, Shaik Baksh, Badrie Persaud, Keith Burrowes and Dindyal Permaul; Go-Invest CEO Keith Burrowes; several Regional Execuive Officers including Nigel Fisher – Region One, Ashford Ambedkar – Region Five, Paul Ramrattan – Region Six, and Yolanda Hiliman – Region 10, Region Nine’s (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) REO Claire Singh; political advisor and former Local Government Minister Clinton Collymore; acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba; Guyana’s Ambassador to Mexico Bayney Karran and Guyana’s Ambassador to Brazil Merlin Udho were recalled from their posts; national director of the Community Development Council (CDC) Philomena Sahoye-Shury; CEO of Guyana Power and Light Bharrat Dindiyal; Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission Rickford Vieira; Commissioner General of Guyana Revenue Authority Khurshid Sattaur, among many others. (Reprinted, today’s Guyana Times)