Georgetown, Guyana – (February 29, 2020) The Ministry of the Presidency condemns as deliberately false and misleading comments contained in a letter penned by Mr. Christopher Ram and published in the February 23, 2020 editions of the Stabroek News and the Kaieteur News.
The Ministry believes that the letter is perfectly timed to malign the good character of President David Granger and to bring the policies implemented by this Government within the last five years, into disrepute.
The Ministry is not surprised that Mr. Ram would pen this missive as his political motives are well-known. However, it is concerned that Mr. Ram would peddle misinformation to forment race hate, during this elections period. The Ministry, therefore, must present the facts about the numerous falsehoods contained in the letter.
The Ministry strongly rejects Mr. Ram’s claim that President Granger has “demonstrated a tendency towards narrow ethno-centric policies”. All of the policies implemented post 2015 have been for the benefit of all Guyanese regardless race, political affiliation or geographical location. The President has sought to ensure equitable access to all public services. To state otherwise is outrageous. The Ministry cautions Mr. Ram that as a public figure it is irresponsible of him to make and disseminate such reckless statements.
Mr. Ram’s claim too that the President “has retained all the Afro-Guyanese Permanent Secretaries inherited from its predecessor” is fair. The President did inherit a number of senior officers from the previous administration and, in keeping with the Coalition promise not to retrench workers when it assumed office, retained most of them, who continue to serve in the Public Service to date.
The allegation that the President has, however, “[removed] almost all the rest” resulting in “Indo-Guyanese …barely represented among PS’s and in the public service as a whole” is patently false. In most of the Ministries, the Permanent Secretaries are traditional, senior public servants who have worked in the Public Service for many years. They were given promotions because of the skill and institutional knowledge that they possess. It is unfortunate that Mr. Ram chose to look at their race as opposed to their qualifications and expertise. The Ministry therefore, maintains that there has been no Indo-Guyanese purge from the Public Service under this administration and Mr. Ram has failed to provide any evidence to the contrary.
The Ministry asserts also that if Mr. Ram were to be honest and to correctly recall the number of Afro-Guyanese in senior posts during the previous administration he would see clearly, that there is no room for comparison.
Further, Mr. Ram’s claims that the President has displayed contempt for the Constitution of Guyana is also erroneous. The Ministry contends that every decision taken by the Head of State has been within the parameters of the Constitution. Mr. Ram has failed to provide evidence to support this allegation, which may indicate that his false statements could be the result of his incorrect understanding of the provisions therein.
Additionally, Mr. Ram’s flippant references to the Public Education and Transport Service (PETS) formerly known as the Boats, Buses and Bicycles plus Breakfast and Books programme, reflects his own poor understanding of the benefits of the programme to the children and their parents. The President’s decision to make these provisions for school children, was based on evidence gathered from the Ministry of Education which revealed that truancy and absenteeism was not due to parental neglect, but poverty.
Mr. Ram’s assertions too that there has been an increase in public spending during this campaign season are unfounded. President Granger remains the Head of State until another President is sworn in and he is therefore, entitled to the use of all state operated vehicles to transport him in and around the country. Similarly, the Ministers of the Government are still holders of public office during this campaign season, and they too are entitled to use the state operated vehicles to transport them to conduct their duties. Mr. Ram has again failed to provide any evidence to support his claims.
President Granger created the Department of Social Cohesion soon after assuming office in, May 2015, to foster unity in the society by ensuring respect for citizens’ religious beliefs, ethnic identities and cultural practices. He has sought to ensure Guyana becomes a society where there is equal opportunity and benefits for all.
The Ministry of the Presidency therefore condemns Mr. Ram’s thinly-veiled attempt to create animosity and foster distrust against the Head of State and amongst the populace, through his malicious letter. The Ministry urges all right-thinking Guyanese to consider for themselves the facts. It cautions the public also, against falling prey to the assertions of those persons seeking to create divisions and unrest within the society.