…Roopnaraine’s reassignment due to COI recommendations
The reassignment of Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP) was directly due to recommendation made in a preliminary report of the Commission of Inquiry into the education
MOPT in a statement last evening explained that on Tuesday, June 13, it issued a release announcing the adjustments in ministerial responsibilities, which saw Minister Nicolette Henry now holding the post of Minister of Education, while Dr. Roopnaraine, who held that position since 2015, was reassigned to the Ministry of the Presidency.
“These adjustments were made in response to the findings in the preliminary report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Education sector, which prioritised the need for reform and innovation,” the MOTP noted.
The reassignment of Roopnaraine last week sparked a discomfort in the camp of Roopnaraine’s party, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which requested a meeting with President David Granger. That meeting was held last Saturday at State House where it was stressed that the Head of State has the final say in the assignment of ministers.
WPA is a member of the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), which makes up Coalition Government with Alliance For Change (AFC).
Dr. Roopnaraine, as WPA’s co-leader, was made the Minister of Education, after the coalition won the 2015 general elections.
Yesterday, the MOTP objected also to the editorial of Stabroek News on Sunday which it said had misrepresentations and obvious discrepancies.
The editorial appeared “to be designed to damage the reputation of President David Granger and, by extension, the Coalition Government…” MOTP charged yesterday.
“Dr. Roopnaraine had submitted that (COI) report on June 1 and the President, having reviewed that report on his return from the European Development Days (EDD) 2017 conference in Belgium, recognised that immediate action needed to be taken to address the findings of that report.”
It was explained that on Monday, June 12, President Granger convened two separate meetings-— one with Dr. Roopnaraine and the other with the WPA’s Chairman, Desmond Trotman, during which the reassignment was discussed before it was taken to Cabinet the following day.
“This was confirmed by Dr. Roopnaraine himself, who is reported in the Stabroek News editorial as saying that he was personally consulted,” the ministry said.
“Ignoring the need for urgent action in the education sector, the writer intimates that this move was insensitive on the part of the President with regard to the death anniversary of Walter Rodney on Tuesday, June 13. So desperate was the writer to make that unfortunate correlation that Monday, June 12, was referred to as June 13 in the first line of the editorial.”
The ministry also said that the writer sought to draw some bizarre correlation between the Head of State’s so-called “insensitivity” and his military career, referencing the latter twice in the article.
“The Ministry questions the insinuation being made here and reaffirms that the decision to reassign Dr. Roopnaraine was a critical, administrative one. The editorial also stated that upon aligning itself with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the WPA was allocated the Ministry of Education.”
The ministry insisted that this “allocation” is a falsehood.
“The assigning of ministerial office is done by the Head of State, the only one with the Constitutional authority to do so. Minister Roopnarine was assigned as Minister of Education. The Minister of Education was not allocated to the WPA or any political party.”
The ministry also pointed out that while there were certain agreements in the Cummingsburg Accord with regard to the Alliance for Change (AFC) that were adhered to, Ministerial appointments are done at the discretion of the President.
“Further the Editorial states that “as far as the PNC is concerned…the WPA brought no votes of any consequence to the partnership”. This is another falsehood. The PNC has never made any such statement at any forum. This is conjecture by the writer, which they then erroneously attribute to the PNC.”
The ministry made it clear that the WPA remains a strong member of APNU and the Coalition Government and it is noted that the author ignores the fact that Dr. Roopnaraine remains a member of the Cabinet as well as a Member of Parliament.
“The Ministry therefore calls on Stabroek News to retract the Editorial and for an apology to be issued to the President.”
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