The appointment of Chief Executive Officer of Global Seafood Distributors Inc., Ms. Allison Butters-Grant, as a member of the
University of Guyana [UG] Council seems to have evolved into a media frenzy. But this unprecedented attention might have been unwarranted. In fact, the Georgetown of Commerce and Industry [GCCI] has not wasted anytime in making this clear.
Coming on the heels of an article headlined ‘PSC objects to Butters-Grant on UG Council’ published in the Monday edition of the State-owned newspaper, the Guyana Chronicle, the GCCI, by way of a statement, has made public its take on the matter.
The GCCI in its statement said not only does Butters-Grant have its support, but it has taken note of the recent negative press regarding her appointment to the Council.
Highlighting that Butters-Grant is the immediate past secretary of the Chamber, the GCCI made it known that she has laboured for the Chamber in this very capacity as well as a past Councillor.
“She has served the Chamber in a positive way and has distinguished herself as a member of the Chamber. As such, we have full confidence in her ability to discharge the duties of a Councillor of the University of Guyana,” the GCCI statement added.
Further the body sought to amplify that based on the University of Guyana Act 1963, Section 13, subsection 2 [j] speaks to ‘four persons to be nominated by such non-governmental organisations as in the opinion of the Minister are most representative of the interests of Women, Farmers, Amerindians and Business.’
Based on the current law, the GCCI noted, the Minister is within her authority to select a person that she sees fit to serve in the capacity of Councillor of University of Guyana representing the business community.
For this reason, the GCCI underscored that the statement purportedly emanating from the Private Sector Commission [PSC] was unwarranted.
In a response to the matter, the PSC in a statement issued last evening explained that “in June of 2017, the Ministry of Education, quite properly, invited the Private Sector Commission to nominate a representative to serve on the Council of the University of the Guyana.”
According to the statement, the PSC submitted its nomination but was surprised that, on the announcement of the composition of the Council, its nominee was not included. The PSC went on to note that as a consequence it decided to write to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, asking that the matter be corrected.
It was further stated that the Commission also expressed its concern publicly in a press release issued on March 9, 2018. However, the PSC made it pellucid that its press release raised no objection to the nomination of any person on the Council, but emphasised its disappointment that its nominee had not been considered. It moreover pointed out that “this has been custom and practice over the last 25 years and (highlights) the importance of the business community’s voice being represented on the Council as is required by the Constitution of the University.”
Even as it underscored that it stands by its position, the PSC noted that the manner in which its press release [issued on March 9] was interpreted in the state-owned newspaper is unfortunate and regrettable, since it did not seek to raise an objection to any person on the Council.
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