-Bargaining for position is not part of the WPA’s culture- Dr Hinds
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) says that their Executive member, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine did not need to consult with them before rescinding his resignation letter from Government on Wednesday last- three days after he submitted his notice to the President.
According to Executive member of the WPA, Dr David Hinds on Wednesday morning during a press briefing at Rodney House, the decision of whether or not the Former Education Minister chose to remain in his position of a Senior Minister within Government was left solely up to him.
“Our position is that as our representative, we defer to Dr Roopnaraine, we defer to his judgement as to whether he can continue to function in office. He remains our first choice to represent us in Government and we defer to his judgement on whether he can continue,” Hinds noted.
The WPA member explained that Roopnaraine’s initial reason for submitting a resignation letter was due to his deteriorating health.
“The Government announced that the reason is ill health and we concur. That was the reason we discussed when we met with him [to discuss his initial decision to resign].”
Hinds told media operatives that one of the conditions put forward by the President -which contributed to Roopnaraine remaining in Government- was that he would be given more assistance.
Questioned as to whether the President’s reason for wanting Roopnaraine to continue in office is because he did not want a more “forceful or radical” personality from the WPA to take his [Roopnaraine’s] post, Hinds said “we don’t have evidence of that. We have heard that in the wider society and people are free to make their judgment or the other but we have not arrived at that position in the party.”
He maintained that the party holds Roopnaraine as their first choice for representing them in Parliament and the Government.
Moreover, he posited that the Former Education Minister’s rescinded resignation does not “weaken the party.”
“We do not think that his withdrawal of his resignation weakens us in any way. I know there’s a view out there that it’s kind of embarrassing that Dr Roopnaraine resigned and he rescinded the resignation and so forth, but you know when you’re in Government and your President asks you to continue , you don’t want to rebuff your President out of hand, you want to at least give the request some consideration and I think it is in that spirit that Dr Roopnaraine has approached this matter. So no, it has not weakened us.”
In addition, Hinds indicated that the topic of the party only holding one position within Government has been brought up in the members’ meeting held on Sunday last.
“There are different views in the party as it relates to that and on Sunday we talked a lot about that. But we are guided by the principle that we are not in politics or in government for the sharing of spoils.”
However, he said that the WPA does recognise the importance of representation in the Government “because once you’re represented in government then you have a forum and you have the capacity to influence directly what happens in Government.”
Nevertheless, Hinds told the media that the party has not been “bargaining for any new position.”
“We want to say that we weren’t bargaining for any new position. The President has said that all members of the coalition would be represented in Government and in Parliament. We are very bad at bargaining for position. It’s not part of the WPA’s culture.”
On June 13 2017, it was announced that Roopnaraine would be removed from his substantive post as Education Minister and reassigned to head the Department of Public Service within the Ministry of Presidency.
While no reason for this relocation was given, many had speculated that it had to with Roopnaraine’s deteriorating health.
However, some days after being reassigned, he refuted those claims, saying publicly that “nothing was wrong with [his] health.” (Ramona Luthi)