Under pressure; Lawrence says: ‘I am sorry’

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Public Health Minister and PNC/R Chairwoman
Volda Lawrence

Public Health Minister and People’s National Congress (PNC) Chairwoman Volda Lawrence has apologised for recent controversial statements she made about hiring party supporters and friends; something that drew a lot of flak from various sections of the society over the past week.

Last week, the Minister was quoted in the media as saying, among other things, that her party should place more focus on providing jobs for friends and supporters of the PNC.

After the comments, much controversy erupted with some citing discrimination with hiring practices by the Minister, while others said the comments were made at a “private” party gathering.

However, after some amount of public pressure, the PNC Chair today issued an apology for her remarks. She had initially defended her statement saying she stands by her remarks.

In a social media post today, Lawrence said: I must be cognisant of what I say and do and must not allow emotions or political fervor to get in the way. So to all those whom I have offended in one way or another, I humbly apologise.”

Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Raphael Trotman had conceded that the ‘employment comments’ made by Lawrence were an unnecessary distraction.

Trotman, on Sunday, stressed that when the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and AFC signed the Cummingsburg Accord, favouritism was not envisioned.

Trotman, who is also a former PNC member said that he has known and worked closely with Lawrence for 25 years and claimed that during that time, she has “never shown political partisanship”.

Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Bharrat Jagdeo had said that all Guyanese along with human rights groups should join in condemning the “discriminatory” comments attributed to Lawrence.

The former President had told reporters that Minister Lawrence’s comments and that of other A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) leaders have racial undertones.

Jagdeo had said that Lawrence could also be charged for violating labour regulations which speak to non-discrimination in hiring practices.

The PPP had planned to file a complaint regarding this issue with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).

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