Oct 28, 2018 News
Coming on to the end of the constitutional, presidential second term of Bharrat Jagdeo, in 2011, a major court case riveted Guyana. The former
president sued prominent Kaieteur News columnist, Freddie Kissoon, who in a piece is alleged to have accused the former government of practising ideological racism.
In court, a number of senior government officials, including former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, were called to give evidence. Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes, for Kissoon, in questioning these witnesses drew out some startling disclosures.
For example, Luncheon was asked whether Elizabeth Harper was the only Guyanese of African descent who holds the position of Ambassador. Harper was based in Guyana and served as the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to CARICOM.
Dr. Luncheon confirmed that Harper was the only Ambassador who performs dual functions.
Dr. Luncheon was further asked if there is currently no other African Guyanese who qualifies to get an overseas posting as Ambassador, and he said there were none.
Regarding investments by the then government, Dr. Luncheon said between US$180 and US$200 million was invested in sugar, namely the Skeldon Sugar Factory. He admitted the industry employs mostly East Indians, and is managed mostly by East Indians.
Regarding bauxite, which Dr. Luncheon admitted mostly employs African Guyanese, he said he could not comment on comparable investments to that sector, because both the mines, in Linden and in the Berbice River, were privatised.
Fast-forward to 2018, there is another government in place. Concerns are being expressed about ethnic imbalance in appointments. Last week, Kaieteur News’ columnist, Peeping Tom, listed number of senior government appointments since 2015, the year the Coalition entered office.
The list is not flattering with just four of the 50-odd names, being Indo-Guyanese.
Kaieteur News fact-checked the list. According to the list, the four Indo-Guyanese appointed to those top-tiered positions were Justice William Ramlal as Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority; Justice Nandram Kissoon as head of the Public Service Appellate Tribunal; Nizam Hassan as the General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board; and Kumar Dorasami as Chairman of the Integrity Commission.
However, some of the persons would have been appointed based on succession by virtue of rank seniority and, years of service. For example, Holly Greaves of the National Insurance Scheme; Frederick Flatts as CEO of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority; Charles Ogle as Chief Labour Officer and Eondrene Thompson as General Manager of the Guyana Gold Board.
However, there were also cases in which Indo-Guyanese were bypassed for promotion or were removed from office. For example, David Ramnarine and Kemraj Parsram were bypassed for the posts of Commissioner of Police and Head of the Environmental Protection Agency respectively. Lisaveta Ramotar was removed as Head of the Guyana Gold Board.
Peeping Tom only considered the top positions, leaving out such names as Marcel Hutson as Chief Education Officer. He did not consider the makeup of heads of government Boards, heads of Constitutional Commissions, Permanent Secretaries and Regional Executive Officers, the latter two of which Indo-Guyanese are underrepresented.
For the Regional Executive Officers (REOs), of the 10, two of them are Indo-Guyanese- the REOs in Region 3 and in Region 8.
The list as presented by Peeping Tom on October 21, 2018:
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