Georgetown, Guyana – (June 19, 2017) The Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP) rejects outright, the misrepresentations and obvious discrepancies, which appear to be designed to damage the reputation of President David Granger and, by extension, the Coalition Government, in the Stabroek News Editorial published on Sunday, June 18 regarding the reassignment of Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.
On Tuesday, June 13, the Ministry issued a release announcing the adjustments in ministerial responsibilities, which saw Minister Nicolette Henry now holding the post of Minister of Education, while Dr. Roopnaraine, who held that position since 2015, was reassigned to the Ministry of the Presidency. These adjustments were made in response to the findings in the preliminary report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Education sector, which prioritised the need for reform and innovation.
Dr. Roopnaraine had submitted that report on June 1 and the President, having reviewed that report on his return from the European Development Days (EDD) 2017 conference in Belgium, recognised that immediate action needed to be taken to address the findings of that report.
On Monday, June 12 President Granger convened two separate meetings; one with Dr. Roopnaraine and the other with the WPA’s Chairman, Mr. Desmond Trotman, during which the reassignment was discussed before it was taken to Cabinet the following day. This was confirmed by Dr. Roopnaraine himself, who is reported in the Stabroek News editorial as saying that he was personally consulted.
Ignoring the need for urgent action in the education sector, the writer intimates that this move was insensitive on the part of the President with regard to the death anniversary of Walter Rodney on Tuesday, June 13. So desperate was the writer to make that unfortunate correlation that Monday, June 12, was referred to as June 13 in the first line of the editorial. Further, the writer sought to draw some bizarre correlation between the Head of State’s so-called “insensitivity” and his military career, referencing the latter twice in the article. The Ministry questions the insinuation being made here and reaffirms that the decision to reassign Dr. Roopnaraine was a critical, administrative one
The Editorial also stated that upon aligning itself with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the WPA was allocated the Ministry of Education. This is a falsehood. The assigning of Ministerial office is done by the Head of State, the only one with the Constitutional authority to do so. Minister Roopnarine was assigned as Minister of Education. The Minister of Education was not allocated to the WPA or any political party. While there were certain agreements in the Cummingsburg Accord with regard to the Alliance for Change (AFC) that were adhered to, Ministerial appointments are done at the discretion of the President.
Further the Editorial states that “As far the PNC is concerned…the WPA brought no votes of any consequence to the partnership”. This is another falsehood. The PNC has never made any such statement at any forum. This is conjecture by the writer, which they then erroneously attribute to the PNC. The WPA remains a strong member of APNU and the Coalition Government and it is noted that the author ignores the fact that Dr. Roopnaraine remains a member of the Cabinet as well as a Member of Parliament. The Ministry therefore calls on Stabroek News to retract the Editorial and for an apology to be issued to the President.