…President says no decision yet on new 2nd vice-president
PRESIDENT David Granger said his government has not decided whether a new vice-president will be appointed to fill the void left by Carl Greenidge, but he hinted that there will be more changes in permanent secretaries by the end of June.
Greenidge resigned from the Parliament of Guyana in April – a move which automatically resulted in him relinquishing his positions as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Second Vice-President. He, along with three other government ministers and three opposition members of Parliament, was forced to resign after the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that it was unconstitutional for Members of Parliament to be dual citizens. All seven of the former MPs are dual citizens, however, the majority have committed to renouncing their foreign status.
On the sideline of a credential ceremony at the Ministry of the Presidency on Wednesday, President David Granger told reporters that while Dr. Karen Cummings has replaced Greenidge as Minister of Foreign Affairs, a decision has not been made on whether another vice-president will be appointed at this point in time. The remaining Vice-Presidents are: Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo – First Vice-President; Third Vice-President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan; and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock – the Fourth Vice-President.
President Granger said while a decision on a new vice-president is pending, other changes will be made in the coming weeks. “Other changes have to be made at the level of the permanent secretaries and by the end of this month and the beginning of June, there should be some announcements,” President Granger told reporters.
Meanwhile, Greenidge was recently appointed Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this new portfolio, Greenidge will be responsible for the Department of Frontiers and Territorial Integrity and the Department of Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Under his leadership, the Guyana/Venezuela Territorial Controversy was placed before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to re-confirm the 1899 Arbitral Award after decades of the issue being stalled at the ‘Good Officers’ process. With Venezuela refusing to submit its Counter-Memorial on jurisdiction, Guyana has asked the ICJ to proceed with the holding of oral hearings, at the earliest possible date, to determine its jurisdiction over the case brought against Venezuela.
Dominic Gaskin, former Minister of Business; Joseph Harmon, former Minister of State; and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, former Minister of Public Service, are the other officials who had resigned alongside Greenidge. They have all since been reassigned.
Gaskin has been appointed Director of Manufacturing and Marketing within the Ministry of Business, while Dr. Roopnaraine is now the country’s Director of Public Service Training within the Ministry of the Presidency.
As Director of Manufacturing and Marketing within the Ministry of Business, Gaskin will be responsible for the enforcement of standards. Under this new portfolio, Gaskin is expected to provide assistance to small producers and access to markets, particularly Eastern Caribbean markets. Gaskin was replaced by Haimraj Rajkumar as Minister of Business.
Meanwhile, Dr. Roopnaraine is now responsible for training standards at the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service, Guyana Defence Force Staff College, and Guyana Police Force Staff College. Dr. Roopnaraine was replaced as Public Service Minister by Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, while Harmon was replaced by Dawn Hastings-Williams as the new Minister of State.