By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – More than a year after Guyana’s 10 Parliament submitted names for the appointment of persons to serve as Commissioners on the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is demanding that the President avail himself to the swearing in of the Commissioners.
Jagdeo made the comment at a press conference on Tuesday, September 08 where he raised objections to the functions of the Social Cohesion Minister. According to Jagdeo, the Social Cohesion department headed by Minister Amna Ally is usurping the constitutional responsibilities of the ERC.
He posited that this was the reason why he refused to take part in the recently concluded Social Cohesion roundtable conference at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.
Jagdeo told reporters that “the PPP could not and will not take part in any effort that will undermine constitutional bodies in this country. We believe that this hastily put together social cohesion conference emanated out of a promise made to a few donor countries and it was the proverbial fig leaf to cover a lot of the acts that are leading…to dividing our people further.”
The Opposition Leader stated that if the new government is serious about Social Cohesion then it should take immediate steps to swear in the Commissioners named by the tenth parliament.
“Swear in the members of the Ethnic Relations Commission now….resource them so they can work… to bring greater harmony and social cohesion to people but not replace it with a government Minister who has shown over and over that she has a proclivity to be very partisan,” Jagdeo stated.
When it was pointed out that former President Donald Ramotar had ample time to swear in the Commissioners and did not do so even after making several promises to get the deed done, Jagdeo stated that the APNU+AFC should not hold itself to the standards of the former PPP/C government.
“If we blundered and I am not saying that we did, then this government should not hold itself to that standard,” he stated.