New Govt rolls 50+ heads in 30 days
– PPP/C claims political victimisation, ethnic selectivity in firings
Since occupying office on May 16, the David Granger-led administration has sacked more than 50 employees of the Government in less than 30 days, even as it insists that it has not engaged in any “witch-hunting”. The former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration has condemned the dismissals in the harshest possible terms.
In a press release over the weekend, the PPP/C accused the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government of embarking on an “ethnic-cleansing” spree, where it is outrageously dismissing Guyanese professionals on the basis of their race and political affiliation. More than any other thing, the PPP/C has objected to the manner in which the dismissals were effectuated, pointing out that the employees were not afforded due process. In most cases their severing of accumulated benefits we deemed “vindictive”.
The APNU/AFC administration has thus far fired employees from the Office of the President (now Ministry of Presidency), Ministry of Communities, Amerindian Affairs Ministry, and Social Protection Ministry, and sent on leave Regional Executive Officers, Members of State Board of Directors, and recalled diplomats.
At least 20 persons listed on the payroll of the National Communications Network, who were stationed at the Office of the President as media monitors, were abruptly fired by the new administration. Presidential guards were also dismissed from the Office of the President.
In addition, Press and Publicity Officer attached to the Office of the President, Kwame McCoy, was also sacked by the Government on the grounds that he failed to report to duty since May 12. McCoy was at the time on medical leave after he was violently assaulted by APNU/AFC supporters on Election Day, May 11, even as he was in an open-backed Police Vehicle. Minutes earlier he had been escorted out of St Sidwell’s Primary School by David Granger and Joseph Harmon.
Over at the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Permanent Secretary Nigel Dharamlall and the former Head of the National Toshaos Council, Yvonne Pearson, were also dismissed by the Government. For Pearson, she believes her dismissal is solely a result of her openly supporting the PPP/C in the May 11 Elections. Dharamlall also was a candidate of the PPP/C during the elections campaign.
Former Permanent Secretary of the Local Government Ministry Collin Croal, another PPP/C candidate, was sent on leave after which he was asked to resign. Additionally, Guyana Water Incorporation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shaik Baksh was also sent on leave for 72 days; however his contract will expire before that period is over.
The Government also sacked the CEO of the Guyana Sugar Corporation, Dr Raj Singh, and forced all of its Board of Directors to resign. Those persons include Geeta Singh-Knight, Shaik Baksh, Badrie Persaud, Keith Burrowes and Dindyal Permaul. In addition, Region Nine’s (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) REO Claire Singh, and political advisor and former Local Government Minister Clinton Collymore were fired.
Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency Anne Green was sent on leave after a confrontation with Junior Minister Simona Broomes. And acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba was another professional who was humiliated and thrown out of her office.
Most recently, the APNU/AFC Government recalled Zulfikar Ally from his post as Director for the Caribbean at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Guyana’s Ambassador to Mexico Bayney Karran and Guyana’s Ambassador to Brazil Merlin Udho were recalled from their posts.
Several other professional individuals were either dismissed or forced to render their services at their respective posts. Most of them were not even allowed to receive their legally due benefits. The PPP/C has noted that these actions are clear evidence that an undemocratic Government is taking effect.
Referring specifically to the situation with the former Director for the Caribbean at the IDB, the PPP/C said “Mr Ally occupies this position having been nominated by Guyana and endorsed by the Governments of the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. His track record at the Bank is nothing short of outstanding, with the Caribbean being elevated to a position of prominence in the Bank’s decision making architecture as a result of his efforts,” the PPP/C said in a release.
The PPP/C went on to slam the new Government for not adhering to its words of conducting an assessment of Ally’s performance before deciding on whether or not he should continue his tenure for the remainder of the year.
“Finance Minister Winston Jordan performed no assessment whatsoever, communicated no findings and shortcomings arising out of this assessment, and instead summarily recalled Mr Ally and installed a retired friend of his who has not lived or worked in Guyana for over 24 years as Mr Ally’s replacement,” the Party highlighted, noting that this is a clear case of racism, cronyism and nepotism.
The PPP/C added that Ally’s replacement does not even serve in the best interest of the country. “The Caribbean Chair in the IDB will be represented by someone who has no knowledge or experience of the workings of the Bank, the Board of Executive Directors or, for that matter, Guyana for the past 20 years, and will not be eligible to chair any committees for the one year he will serve as the Executive Director,” the Party noted. The PPP/C pointed this decision will only diminish the Constituency’s influence in the Bank and will be a major concern of other member countries of the Caribbean.
Further, the PPP/C lambasted the new Government for recalling the ambassadors from their posts without any rational reasoning behind the decision. ”By what measure can Bayney Karran not be deemed a professional diplomat? He is a qualified lawyer of highly respected standing who has served at the ambassadorial level with distinction for 20 years in two of Guyana’s most important diplomatic posts…By what measure can Merlin Udho not be deemed a professional diplomatic, having worked for a number of years in the international system even outside of the Government of Guyana and prior to her ambassadorial appointment?”
Recently, PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee had urged those who were wronged to come forth and, by all means, fight for justice to at least ensure they receive their benefits. Rohee said the PPP/C will also be taking its role seriously in representing these “victimised” individuals by writing letters and holding press conferences to raise awareness of the ill-treatment being administered by the Granger-led administration.
The General Secretary added that the PPP/C has been receiving floods of reports indicating that a significant portion of employees within the public service are consumed with “intimidation, fear, distress and uneasiness” owed to the p