…but says ministers need to relinquish State property as customary
MINISTER of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, has made it clear that no public servant has been asked to resign since the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) took Office.
The reports were made recently by a television news agency which stated that several staff attached to the Ministry of the Presidency had been asked to resign. This information was corrected by Minister Teixeira on Friday at a virtual press conference.
“Let me make it clear, no one has been terminated or fired. No one has received a letter terminating or firing them,” she said.
Even before the end of the elections, now Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had made it clear that Guyanese have nothing to fear should the PPP/C take office. He assured supporters earlier in the year: “They [APNU+AFC] are spreading fears in their minds…about losing their jobs but ordinary people don’t have to worry about the PPP/C, whether they voted for APNU+AFC or not, because we take care of all Guyanese.”
Meanwhile, Teixeira was plain-spoken when she explained that this privilege is not given to Ministers of Government as when a new administration is elected, it is only expected that they vacate office. Along with their departure of office must also be their departure of all government residents and relinquishment of government assets such as vehicles or equipment.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance said that the PPP/C will not sit idly by while the APNU+AFC Opposition paints the request of the government that former Ministers vacate and relinquish state assets as “witch-hunting”.
She made direct reference to a statement by former President David Granger on Friday, in his capacity as Leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), on which occasion he stated that the government had commenced a “vulgar, divisive and vindictive campaign of alienation, discrimination and separation against…Coalition ministers and members of Guyana’s Public Service”.
Teixeira said that these comments are disturbing and cannot go without response. She said that Granger, as a former President, should not be exaggerating what is customary and misinforming the public.
“As you well know, ministers automatically lose their jobs when a government changes and so, on August 2, when the results were declared, at that time in the afternoon, the ministers no longer had their jobs. And, as per norm in Parliamentary democracies, ministers vacate their residences,” she said.
“This is what is considered honorable, decent, dignified and democratic. So, what we have seen here is that, yes, ministers are no longer Ministers of the APNU+AFC government. We know that they have vacated their offices and that they are expected to hand over State property and State assets.”
Clearing up further the misconceptions, Teixeira that two former ministers who do not live in Georgetown have been given one month to vacate the requisite government residence they occupy as opposed to just a few days as relayed to the media.
With regard to those given 36-hours to vacate, who reside in Georgetown, she said that the PPP/C Government has received no request by any former minister for a time extension. However, she said that it is common practice under the circumstance that if one resides on a government property, he/she would leave as early as possible when the position of minister is no longer held.
The minister recalled that in May 2015, the day after former President Granger was sworn-in to Office, then former Ministers of the PPP/C vacated all properties belonging to the State by the morning of the next day.
She said that it is ironic that the opposition decries the PPP/C’s request of the customary actions post-elections but treated now President Irfaan Ali and former President Sam Hinds poorly when they won the 2015 elections, preventing them from retrieving personal belongings from ministries and other acts.
“We don’t want to do this to ministers, we don’t want this level of indignity and therefore we expect that the ministers and the political appointees will recognise that they have to behave in a particular way this time,” she said.