Apr 12, 2016 News
President David Granger has stated that the concerns, which have been raised by the Alliance For Change (AFC),
a member of the governing coalition, with regard to the roles and responsibilities of the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, will be given due attention at today’s sitting of the Cabinet, once it is raised.
The President was responding to questions posed after the launch of the El Dorado 50th Anniversary Special Edition Rum at the Demerara Distillers Limited Headquarters, Plantation Diamond, last evening.
According to the Guyanese Leader, while the AFC has made its statement to the media, no objection was made at the Cabinet level or even when the roles and responsibilities of various Ministers were agreed on in January of this year.
However, although this concern has not yet been raised at the Cabinet level, the President indicated that once it is raised, it will be discussed.
He noted that the responsibilities, which have been assigned to the Minister of State, were responsibilities, which were agreed to by the Cabinet at the retreat, held earlier this year.
“We had a retreat earlier this year and we put out a very clear statement on the responsibilities of all of the Ministers and the Ministry of the Presidency, so there is a book that states it and nobody made any objection to the duties, which were assigned to the Minister of State then and it would be surprising that after two months that people feel that the duties…need to be trimmed. So I have to wait to find out from our colleagues what they actually mean,” Granger said.
Responding specifically to questions on whether the Minister’s portfolio was too large, the President said that it is his belief that the work, which has been assigned to the Minister, can be adequately handled.
Harmon has been at the centre of much controversy over the past week surrounding his appointment of Contractor Brian Tiwarie as Business Advisor, and questions about his relationship with officials from the controversial Chinese logging company BaiShanLin.
Harmon had halted attempts by the Guyana Revenue Authority to seize some of BaiShanLin’s vehicles.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) had stated on Sunday that too many responsibilities have been placed in the hands of Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
The AFC is of the opinion that the current difficulties which the government has encountered in the continuing revelations arising out of the appointment of the Advisor on Business Development “and the issues surrounding this, have their roots in the concentration of the powers of the office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency and the effective Head of Presidential Secretariat in a single person.”
AFC, which is part of the present coalition government, said that Guyana would be served best if these powers are divided.
“The responsibilities of each of the above portfolios are substantial and of critical importance to the smooth operations of the Government and would benefit from separate appointments,” it stated.
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