PRESIDENT David Granger yesterday administered the Oath of Office to nine more persons to serve in Government and sit in the Executive Cabinet Council of Ministers.
President Granger administered the Oath during a swearing-in ceremony at the Ministry of the Presidency (formerly named Officer of the President).
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader, Attorney-at-Law, Khemraj Ramjattan, was sworn in as Guyana’s Second Vice President and Minister of Public Security. Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, has already been appointed as Guyana’s First Vice President, under the current administration.
President Granger also witnessed the oath and presented instruments to Noel Holder, who was sworn in as the Substantive Minister of Agriculture. Sydney Allicock was sworn in as Minister with responsibility for Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, while former Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman, is Guyana’s Minister of Governance, one of the new ministries created by the president.
Former Commissioner of Police Winston Felix has been sworn in as the Minister of Citizenship, another of the newly created ministerial portfolios, while Dominic Gaskin has been sworn in as Minister of Business, formerly the Industry and Commerce portfolios, now consolidated.
Gaskin had served as the Treasurer of the AFC party for a number of years.
Jaipaul Sharma was also sworn in as Minister within the Ministry of Finance. Sharma was a sitting member of the National Assembly during the life of the 10th Parliament, but had resigned following a public spat with then Education Minister, Priya Manickchand.
Valerie Garrido-Lowe, another AFC member, was sworn in as Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.
Keith Scott, another long standing Member of Parliament in the opposition benches, was yesterday sworn in as Minister within the Ministry of Public Works.
Scott represents the National Front Alliance (NFA) one of the parties under the banner of A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) which coalesced ahead of May 11, 2015, and secured the majority of vote’s thereby forming an APNU+AFC Government.
INSTRUMENTS OF OFFICE
Having presented instruments of Office to each of the newly appointed Ministers of Government, Executive President Granger, addressing those gathered for the occasion, inclusive of relatives and friends of the inductees, spoke of his confidence in the team, but immediately cautioned “we have work to do.”
According to President Granger, the new ministers are meant to strengthen the Cabinet of the APNU+AFC Government and are also meant to complement those sworn in earlier this week.
Granger told those gathered at the Ministry of the Presidency, “We are determined to bring good governance back to Guyana.”
According to the recently elected Executive President, “We’re determined to have a Cabinet which is committed to national unity…we are determined have a Cabinet which is committed to efficiency and transparency.”
The President said he was “honoured” and “proud” to have aligned himself with a Cabinet of Ministers—“a group of men, women, who are going to transform Guyana and provide a good life for all of our citizens.”
Welcoming his new members of the Cabinet, President Granger’s instruction was, “we have work to do.”
The Head of State subsequently informed media operatives that former Member of Parliament Dawn Hastings is also scheduled to be sworn in imminently as the Minister within the Ministry of Communities.
It was explained that she is currently in the hinterland, which prevented her swearing in yesterday.
EXPERIENCE vs UNDERSTUDIES
Confronted with the supposition of a “graying Cabinet,” despite a large segment of the voting bloc coming from those aged 18-35, President Granger was asked to speak to their representation in the executive arm of government.
He told members of the media “We have an important balance of experience.”
President Granger was adamant, “You can’t fake experience, we need the experience.”
According to Granger, only two of the members sworn in as Cabinet Members thus far, would have had any experience as a serving Minister of Government, hence, “we need to ensure that persons who would have had experience in other fields are in positions to lead those ministries.”
Addressing the question of age directly, the President pointed to the number of Ministers that have been appointed and are still to be appointed as Ministers within Ministries, commonly referred to, however erroneous, as Junior Ministers.
He explained that the Ministers appointed as Ministers within a Ministry would also be serving as understudies to the senior, Substantives Ministers.
“What you see now will not be what will exist in a few years from now, we have a lot of young ministers,” President Granger said.
He posited Cabinet would not only serve a purpose of ensuring the efficient execution of government’s obligations, but will also serve as a training ground for younger Ministers to take the reins in the future.
The Executive President was also called out on his claim to lead a lean government, as he has already appointed a significant number of ministers, with more to come.
According to President Granger, “There are various levels in the cabinet.” He reiterated an earlier position that, “almost every ministry will have junior ministers, we have vice presidents and we have other ministers, so the number of ministries will not or ought not to exceed 15, and you should not be fooled by the number of junior ministers.”
He reminded that they “are meant to understudy the seniors; and in due course that grayness will be removed and we will have younger ministers taking senior positions.”
By Gary Eleazar