Georgetown, Guyana – (February 22, 2018) President David Granger, today, swore-in the 10 members to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) and seven members to the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and urged them to discharge their duties without cowardice, malice and prejudice. He reminded that Constitutional Service Commissions are enshrined, established and empowered by the Constitution and noted that they serve to insulate citizens and institutions against influence and interference by the Executive.

The members to the ERC are: Mr. Barrington Braithwaite, Ms. Ruth Howard, Mr. Roshan Khan, Major General (Ret’d) Norman McLean, Pandit Deodat Persaud, Mr. Ashton Simon, Ms. Rajkumarie Singh, Bishop John Smith, Mr. Neaz Subhan and Mr. Norris Witter.

Meanwhile, members sworn-in to the TSC include, Ms. Avril Crawford, Mr. Allan Munroe, Ms. Elizabeth Ramlal, Mr. Amjad Shaw, Ms. Deborah Thomas-Holder and Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson. The latter was sworn-in as an ex-officio member.

With regard to the ERC, President Granger said that it’s “the work of the Ethnic Relations Commission is essential to ensuring ethnic harmony and social cohesion”, adding that its, “functions entail a broad range of actions and interventions, including education, investigation, monitoring, reviewing, recommending and study.”

President Granger said that the ERC is intended, inter alia, to promote good relations, harmony, peace, tolerance and understanding between our peoples; provide equal opportunity between persons of different ethnic groups; and proscribe ethnic discrimination. The swearing in of its members accorded with Article 212 (1) (b) of the Constitution and on the nomination of appointments by the relevant organisations and bodies pursuant to Resolution No. 17 of 2003.

Mr. Roshan Khan, in a brief comment, said that the ERC will endeavour to create national cohesion and goodwill amongst the various religious faiths and the ethnic groups. “Once you become a member of the Commission, insularity ends. You become a person working for national ethos, national goodwill,” he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Pandit Persaud, who is representing the youth constituency on the ERC. He said, “As a person who comes from the background of fairness, transparency and impartiality, these are the things I will use as the benchmark in the execution of my functions… At the end of the day this is our country and everyone must get a piece of the pie. There must always be fairness. People must …not feel discriminated,” he said.

With regard to the TSC, President Granger said that the body is mandated to ensure that teachers’ appointments are undertaken by an independent body and are based on merit. It is vested, by Article 209 of the Constitution with the power “to appoint persons as teachers in the public service and to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices.”

President Granger said that the work of the TSC will contribute to ensuring a corps of qualified, trained and highly-motivated teachers in the local educational system. Further, he noted that it will assure teachers of fairness in appointments and due process in the exercise of discipline.

Newly-sworn-in Commissioner, Mr. Amjad Shaw commended the Government for ensuring that these constitutional bodies are reinstated. “These things have been outstanding and there have been lots of criticisms coming from all directions but I want to compliment His Excellency for this bold move to have these Commissions formally enacted and I look forward to working diligently to solve all of the problems for the teachers,” he said.

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