Amid the recent resignation of former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge due to his dual citizenship status, President David Granger has informed that he will remain at the Ministry to serve in another capacity.Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl GreenidgeThe President told the media on Wednesday that discussions are ongoing regarding the appointment but while a decision is yet to be made, it is expected that the former Minister will contribute to the resolution of the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. Greenidge was replaced by Dr Karen Cummings, who served prior as Junior Public Health Minister.“I’ve had several meetings with Mr Greenidge and he will remain in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I’ve had meetings of course, with the new Minister, Dr Karen Cummings, and I am to meet them again to let them know what my decision is,” the President said.President David GrangerHe further stated, “I expect that Mr Greenidge will contribute to the continuity of work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially with relation to the territorial controversy with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Guyana that is ongoing.”Presently, the case is before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) but it was mentioned that Greenidge may also be given responsibilities for other areas relating to Guyana’s international relations. Nevertheless, the Head of State sought to assure that the Minister’s duties will remain intact.“There are certain aspects of the international economic relations of Guyana with other countries that I will ask him to accept responsibilities for. There isn’t two Ministries. It is one Ministry and Dr Cummings is the Minister. The function and everything else that falls within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will come under the Minister of Foreign Affairs,” the President said.According to a ruling by acting Chief Justice Roxane George in January, it is illegal for persons with a second citizenship to serve in the National Assembly. This decision was upheld in Guyana’s Appeal Court in March.Apart from Greenidge, three other Government Ministers – Minister of State Joseph Harmon; Business Minister Dominic Gaskin and Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine were also forced to resign from Cabinet and the National Assembly, owing to their dual citizenship status.It was previously indicated that all these Ministers, with the exception of Gaskin, will be renouncing their second citizenship. Gaskin is a born Briton and according to the courts, by renewing his British passport he is pledging allegiance to another State.Last Friday, Minister Cummings was sworn-in to undertake her new responsibility along with new Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams; Business Minister Haimraj Rajkumar; and new Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley.This period also saw a reshuffling of Cabinet members with Junior Ministers Annette Ferguson and Simona Charles-Broomes being transferred to their new posts after they were transferred from the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Natural Resources, respectively.Minister Ferguson was appointed Housing Minister within the Communities Ministry, while Minister Broomes holds the mantle for youth affairs within the Ministry of the Presidency.Moreover, Minister Valerie Patterson-Yearwood was reassigned as Rural Affairs Minister within the Agriculture Ministry. Her removal from the Housing Department came at a time when much controversy erupted over conflict of interest issues after her husband was awarded several contracts from the very Ministry she headed.So far, Harmon has been appointed as Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, a position which did not previously exist. It is unclear whether the other two former Ministers will take up other roles within the coalition Government.
…expresses disappointment at Govt’s silenceThe fracas that occurred at the New Thriving restaurant’s parking lot and involved allegations of a guard pointing a gun at Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes – an allegation that has since been debunked by video footage — reinforces the need for the existence of a strong ministerial code of conduct.David HindsThis is according to Dr David Hinds, who also expressed disappointment that so far only one official, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, has publicly addressed the matter.Hinds, who is also an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance – a party within the coalition Government — has expressed that while he is mindful that errors of judgement happen, the behaviour of the minister is a worrying one. He expressed the belief that had the minister been a private citizen, she would not have behaved in the manner depicted in the surveillance video.“It is one of the worrying characteristics of the top echelon of this Government and (of) previous ones. They seem intoxicated by the power they have, and use it simply because they have it and could use it. Part of it, I think, has to do with their unfamiliarity with political power that is born of a lack of proper preparation for high office,” Hinds declared.“I have read where some defenders cite the minister’s hard work and forthrightness as her assets. But effectiveness as a minister is not licence for bullyism. At the very least, the Government, the President and the party to which the minister is affiliated should publicly disassociate themselves from such behaviour,” Hinds cautioned.He stressed the importance of leadership by example from those in leadership positions, and noted that throwing one’s weight around as a minister and then telling a story that is at odds with the available facts is, at the end of the day, “official bullying.”“In the final analysis, this episode reinforces the need for a serious Code of Conduct for Ministers. It also signals that those entrusted with public power must manage it better. Our country is mired in lawlessness and incivility at all levels, and if we are to pull ourselves out of it, those who are in leadership positions must lead by example,” Hinds chided. While a Code of Conduct for Ministers was gazetted last year June, it was heavily criticised for being weak. Specifically, the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) had stated, after reviewing the draft, that some of its most critical recommendations, including penalties for specific breaches, have been ignored.The parking lot sagaMinister Simona Broomes had claimed that she and her driver, whose name has to date not officially been released to the media, had been victims of verbal assaults and threats by two security guards who were attempting to bar her from parking in a specific section of the establishment.Minister Broomes had also alleged that one of the guards had pointed and “crocked” a firearm at her and the driver of her SUV vehicle at some point during the incident. She claimed she was fearful for her life and safety as a result of the actions of the guards; who, following the incident, were arrested and detained by Police ranks before being released on their own recognisance.But since the release of CCTV footage last week, it has become clear that the version of the story told by Minister Broomes is different from what was depicted on camera. This has caused much criticism to be unleashed on social media against the APNU/AFC official. Video footage has displayed Broomes and her driver becoming enraged upon being told that they could not park in the specific area. Broomes was seen stepping out of the vehicle and throwing the “No parking” sign from the spot. And as her driver moved the vehicle forward, it almost struck one of guards who stood in front of it. The driver then exited the vehicle again, and another exchange followed.Asked last week whether the Police have found any proof to substantiate the claims made by Minister Broomes that a gun had been aimed at her during the ordeal, Crime Chief Paul Williams has declined to make any definitive pronouncement. Police are, however, expected to wrap up their investigations soon.