By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development Norman Whittaker, who has been in the post for the last two years, is now eyeing the possibility of being confirmed the Senior Minister following the resignation of Minister Ganga Persaud on January 23.
Though this appointment has to be considered by Cabinet and final decided by President Donald Ramotar, another Cabinet Member, or several others may also be frantic for the post.
iNews was reliably informed that Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran may also be ‘up in arms’ for the position. When approached by iNews on Monday (January 27), Ramsaran did not deny nor confirm the report, but rather informed that it will be a Cabinet decision.
He did say however “I love the Ministry of Local Government, how about merging the two and making it one and allow me to run it, what do you think about that… I don’t mind if they merge it and let me run it.”
Ramsaran who maintained that it will be a Cabinet decision said his Cabinet Counterpart, Irfaan Ali who runs both the Ministry of Housing and Water and the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce “is doing a great job, why can’t I.”
However, Whittaker seems a little more humble and confident that he will assume the post. He reiterated that it will be a Presidential appointment and noted his honour to ‘hold the forth’ in the absence of a substantial Minister.
Minister Ganga Persuad’s resignation will take effect from January 31, 2014.
According to Whittaker, the work of the Ministry will continue with the help of the staff at the Ministry, noting that there will be no change in plans for the local Government Structure to bring improvement to the life of the people.
Whittaker said the departure of Persaud will be a significant blow to the Ministry but pointed out however that under his stewardship he was able to build staffing (numbers and quality), extend the range of services offered and generally strengthen the local government structure.
Earlier today, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Clement Rohee dodged questions that Persaud was involved in an “inappropriate” relationship with a young female, thus why he resigned.
Though hesitantly, he said to one reporter, “You’re treading on very sensitive grounds; you’re treading on extremely sensitive grounds that could have far reaching implications.” Rohee confirmed that it was the President that asked Persaud to resign.
Ganga Persaud shocked the nation when he announced his resignation on January 23. The resignation was accepted by President Donald Ramotar and becomes effective on January 31. Persaud remains a Parliamentarian and a member of the PPP and its central committee.