Newly appointed ministers Sonia Parag and Susan Rodrigues are fairly new to politics, but their determination and passion to see their country progress have landed them the opportunity to effect real change at one of the highest levels in government.
Parag, 37, hails from a family of political influence, her father Hukumchand was a prominent attorney as well as a member of the People’s National Congress (PNC). She will be heading the Ministry of Public Service.
Her appointment comes as much of a surprise to the political pundits since she only joined the political arena about a year ago.
Initially, she offered legal counsel to the then Opposition Leader [now Vice President] Bharrat Jagdeo and then joined the campaign trail for the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
“Here I am and my nature is to give all as I’ve done throughout this electoral process and that I don’t plan to stop at any time in terms of giving my all. As I get into office, I will familiarize myself the first thing, with the staff, with the status of that Ministry and then I will start to implement my policies,” she said.
The attorney by profession noted that she would been meeting with the staff at the ministry to determine the best plan to move forward in a unified way. She expressed that she is looking as professionalizing the public service as well as bringing progress to the sector.
“It requires a certain amount of patience, it requires improving your arguments and not your voice so basically what I will say is that we sit down at the table like mature adults and find solutions to those who wish to be testy in their approach,” Parag said when asked how she intends to deal with conflicts in terms of advancing the public service.
When asked how she intends to revolutionize the Scholarship Division of the Ministry, Parag said: “I would like to channel it in a way look it is fair it is transparent it is across the board. We are looking at something when you throw it to the public, they understand what is going on, they can see for themselves that this is fairly done.”
Susan Margaret Rodrigues – Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water – is also fairly new to politics only having joined the PPP after she was dissatisfied with the way the APNU/AFC was running the affairs of the country. She notes that this appointment allows her to step out of her comfort zone.
“This is very encouraging not only for the young people within our party and within government but young people in Guyana generally that they can see that there is potential out there and as long as you work hard and you are committed you can become anything you want.”
“There was no indication before that I would be given this portfolio. I do have a construction background and real estate [background] and when I met with the President yesterday and he said that I am giving you this because you are a hard worker. He said we have to be results oriented.. and that we have to deliver, we do not have a choice and it is very difficult now with the economy we’ve inherited but we are not going to make excuses, we are going to put our shoulders to the wheel and we are going to ensure that we deliver for the people of Guyana,” Rodrigues said.