President David Granger on Thursday defended his decision to appoint a number of current and former Guyana Defence Force officers to top government positions and head Commissions of Inquiry.
He said when he was elected President in May 2015, there were already 10 officers who had been appointed by the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration.
“These are human beings. These are people with skills. They are not a separate breed of citizens. We can’t deprive them of their right if they have the talent, the qualifications, the experience,” he said on this week’s programme, Public Interest.
Retired Brigadier, Bruce Lovell and Retired Colonel Windee Algernon were recently appointed to conduct Commissions of Inquiry into the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit and a recent fire at the Children’s Drop-In Centre that killed two children. Serving Col Nazrul Hussain was recently appointed to head the Department of National Events of the Ministry of the Presidency.
Since those appointments, several Guyanese have questioned on social media whether there were not any competent persons other than serving and ex GDF officers.
The Guyanese leader noted that when he assumed office Retired Major General, Joseph Singh; Justice Colonel Brassington Reynolds, Accountant General, Col, Persaud and Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Retired Col. Chabilall Ramsarup were already holding those positions. “I don’t discriminate against them and obviously, Mr. Jagdeo and Mr. Ramotar didn’t discriminate against them because I inherited a large number of former military officers who had been appointed by the previous administration,” he said.
Granger said he saw nothing wrong with asking a retired military officer to conduct a Commission of Inquiry. “The question is: Are they competent to do it?”
The President said he could make heavy weather of a ministerial appointment by the PPPC of someone who had been dishonourably discharged from the GDF. He questioned why no one was criticising the previous administration for appointing former military officers.