The People’s National Congress Reform is demanding that the nomination of Kwame McKoy to the Rights of the Child Commission be immediately withdrawn, a position that will be expounded again today when the National Assembly debates the issue.
According to the party in a statement to the media, yesterday, the nomination of Kwame McKoy, as the representative of the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, to serve on this Commission, is an insult to all decent-minded Guyanese and the latest illustration of PPP/C arrogance and lack of concern for the views of Guyanese.
The Rights of the Child Commission is one of the four Commissions established by the Constitution of Guyana.
The article in the constitution speaking to the creation of the commission states that the Ministry with responsibility for children’s affairs, namely the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, and the Ministry of Education are entitled to nominate member to the Rights of the Child Commission.
A recent resolution passed in the National Assembly approved both, the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and the Ministry of Education, being asked to nominate one person each to serve on the Rights of the Child Commission, along with the thirteen other members nominated by other agreed entities.
The PNCR noted that in July 2008 the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security was requested by letter to have his Ministry nominate a person to serve on the Rights of the Child Commission.
Last January, after the Committee on Appointments had received the names of the other 14 nominees, to serve on the Rights of the Child Commission, the Committee received a letter from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security informing the Committee that the Ministry’s previous nominee was withdrawn and the new nominee was Kwame McKoy, press officer to the President of Guyana.
“It is interesting to note that the members of the Committee never saw a copy of the first letter from the Permanent Secretary and enquiries about its contents were met with the strange response, from Gail Teixeira, Chairperson of the Committee on Appointments, that the first letter was never received by the Secretary to the Committee on Appointments.”
The PNCR pointed out that at the level of the Committee on Appointments, the representatives of that party strenuously opposed the nomination of. McKoy.
“As a consequence, the PPPC members of this Committee, which include the Priya Manickchand, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, agreed to an adjournment, of the meeting of the Committee, to reconsider their support of McKoy’s nomination….
“Predictably, at the next meeting of the Committee on Appointments, in February 2009, the PPP/C members all reaffirmed their support of the nomination of McKoy.”
According to the party, McKoy’s nomination, to this Commission, flies in the face of the Constitution of Guyana which states that “A Commission shall be independent, impartial and shall discharge its functions fairly”.
The PNCR noted, “It is public knowledge that Mr. McKoy is a rabid member and/or supporter of the PPP/C and, his numerous public utterances, in the print and electronic media, makes it clear that he is merely a mouthpiece of the PPP/C and the President…Therefore, he can neither be considered to be independent nor impartial.”
The party’s statement added that the letter from the Committee on Appointments to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, in July 2008, stated inter alia that the person must also have earned public respect and be of unquestionable honesty and integrity.
“The countless calls that the PNCR and individual Party members, have received from persons, from all walks of life, expressing grave concerns about the nomination of McKoy, to the Rights of the Child Commission, testify that there is the public perception that McKoy is no exemplar and has not earned the respect or regard of the Guyanese public.”
The Party added that McKoy is not an employee of the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and “while the Constitution does not expressly state that the nominees, from that Ministry or the Ministry of Education, must be employees of the respective Ministries, his nomination offends the spirit of the Constitution, as the rationale for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security having a nominee on this Commission, is that the nominees would be the conduit for information between the Commission and their respective Ministries…
“This latest demonstration, by the PPPC, of its continued disregard and disrespect for the Constitution of Guyana, while not surprising, is regrettable….The PNCR calls on Minister Manickchand to demonstrate her independence and respect for the Constitution, and the spirit in which a nominee should be appointed by her Ministry, by withdrawing Mr. McKoy as that nominee.”
Thee PNCR also called all organisations that have made representations to the party to let their concerns be made public.
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