Jun 26, 2017 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Asked to grade the performance of its only party member sitting in Cabinet, the Working People Alliance (WPA) had to decline. The party claimed that it is ill-equipped to say how well or how poorly Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine has been performing simply because “we were not monitoring him.”
WPA’s failure to at least monitor its political face in government was made known by its executive member, Dr. David Hinds, at the party’s most recent press conference.
At that press conference there was much talk about President David Granger’s decision to move Roopnaraine as the Minister of Education and place him as the Minister of the Public Service Ministry within the Ministry of the Presidency. The way this happened did not go down well with the WPA.
The party is also complaining about being sidelined in Government.
The Party said that it was not given any solid reason why the President chose to move Roopnaraine. But, since it was not monitoring his performance the WPA could not say whether the politician was doing a good job and therefore could not present a reason why he should not have been moved.
Asked about Roopnaraine’s temporary replacement, Nicolette Henry, Dr. Hinds said, “We want to leave Henry alone; we are not too interested in that.”
Dr. Hinds said, too, “We do not feel that there is a particular ministry in the government to which we are entitled but WPA feels that it should be given a substantive ministry. It should a ministry that makes a difference.”
Dr. Hinds refused to speak on the merits attached to the Public Service until such time that the President informs the Party more on the mandate of the Public Service Ministry.
Another executive member of the WPA, Tacuma Ogunseye, said, “Until we hear from the President, a description of the Ministry and we can make a rational judgment, we would want to hold off speaking about the merits of the Public Service Ministry.
“But I will argue that because the Education Ministry is such a substantive ministry, probably with the highest spending allotment from the budget; it is hard to see how the other ministry can compare with that. But we will wait and see the role of the ministry. If we are entitled to a senior Minister we should be entitled to a senior ministry.
WPA said that the political parties in the APNU coalition are being stifled. Those parties are supposed to shape the direction of Government and the government is supposed to follow though based on the vision of the parties.
Dr. Hinds said, “In terms of shaping education policy we regret that we were not as forward, assertive as we should have been as well as in other areas…but from now on rest assured that the WPA will take an active interest in the formulation of policy and direction.”
Will WPA pull Roopnaraine?
The party’s executive said that it will soon discuss if Dr. Roopnaraine will be replaced.
Dr. Hinds told the media, “The question of replacement did not come up with President Granger. We touched on it in our executive but have not discussed it in any length.”
Despite the problems faced, the WPA remains committed to the coalition government.
“We have always championed coalition government from the time of Dr. Walter Rodney who put a lot of effort into something that we called a government for national unity and reconstruction in 1979. We have been the party of coalition and we do not want to be the party that kills it,” said Dr. Hinds.
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