HEAD of State Brigadier (rtd) David Granger is in the concluding stages of finalising his Cabinet Council of Ministers and has announced the creation of a new Ministry, naming Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Lieutenant Colonel (rtd) Joseph Harmon as Minister of State.The announcement came yesterday when President Granger met with staffers at Office of the President.
He has proposed to have the Office encompassing a ‘Ministry of the Presidency.’ And it will be headed by Harmon.
On his re-entrance to the National Assembly, in the 11th Parliament, Harmon will be designated Minister of State, and as such will be Head and hold the portfolio as Minister in charge of the Ministry of the Presidency.
President Granger has also indicated that from time to time, other ministers will be appointed in the Presidency, “but Mr. Harmon will be the person who will be exercising the ministerial function under my directions of this ministry.”
He said, some departments will continue, “some will remain, but the most important thing is that we ensure there is no disruption, simple…Comrade Harmon will be doing the job that Dr. (Roger) Luncheon did, with some exceptions, he won’t be doing NIS, but as far as OP is concerned, he is Minister in charge.”
Ministers will not be officially sworn in until they are first administered the Oath of Office as Members of Parliament.
HPS Harmon yesterday told the Guyana Chronicle that President Granger is looking to having the Parliament convened as early as the first week in next month, at which time the Ministers can be sworn in.
He managed to confirm too that former Finance Minister Carl Greenidge has been identified as the person to hold the Ministerial Portfolio in Charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while former Budget Director, Winston Jordon, has been identified as the next Finance Minister.
According to Harmon, as the administration prepares for the 11th Parliament, work has already been commenced by Jordon, who will be working along with the team from the Budget Office of the Ministry of Finance on the National Estimates for 2015.
HPS Harmon has indicated that former Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh has indicated a willingness to work along with the team in preparing and finalising the national estimates. HPS Harmon assured that, the preparation process will fully embrace the concept of consultation.
On the matter of the Ministerial portfolios, HPS Harmon said too that Ronald Bulkan will be taking up the portfolio as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development.
Asked about the Ministry of Home Affairs, HPS Harmon told the Guyana Chronicle this portfolio will be one held by the Alliance For Change (AFC) arm of the coalition for which a nomination had not yet been finalised.
Harmon said the coalesced A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and AFC Government will be looking to have between 14 and 16 Ministries.
Under the Cummingsburg Accord, the AFC is guaranteed 40 per cent of the Ministerial portfolios, including that of Home Affairs.
Former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Attorney-at-Law, Basil Williams, according to the HPS Harmon, will be appointed Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General.
Meanwhile, the Government’s transition team, also headed by HPS and Minister of State Harmon, met with their predecessors in a move aimed at the smooth changeover of government, governance and Executive Power.
The Government team also includes, Messrs Carl Greenidge, Nigel Hughes, Raphael Trotman, Noel Holder, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, Basil Williams and Amna Ally, among other persons.
The Opposition PPP/C delegation is headed by Dr Roger Luncheon and includes Former Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira; and Former Ministers Priya Manickchand and Bishop Juan Edgehill.
Teixeira told the Guyana Chronicle last evening that the PPP/C team is cooperating with the new Government, is respectful, and maintains, “We have nothing to hide.”
President Granger is scheduled to meet tomorrow with all Permanent Secretaries currently attached to the various ministries at the Guyana International Conference Centre.
By Gary Eleazar