In the wake of concerns by the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) that it was not consulted before Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine was removed from the post of Minister of Education, government on Friday insisted that there were consultations.
“The importance is that the parties were contacted by His Excellency the President, advised about the movement before the movement took place,” Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told a news conference. He noted that consultations and meaningful consultations are defined in Guyana’s constitution.
For his part, Dr. Roopnaraine said, “I was consulted” and he said “no” when asked whether the WPA had been consulted.
Still disturbed that WPA Chairman, Desmond Trotman was merely called to a meeting by the President and told of the decision to shift Roopnaraine to the Public Service, that party has since requested a meeting with the Guyanese leader.
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-dominated A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has not met in almost two years since the coalition won the May, 2015 general and regional elections.
On the issue of the WPA’s position that it is entitled to a full-fledged ministry, Harmon said that matter would be discussed when President David Granger meets with representatives of that party. “I would wait on the views expressed by the Working People’s Alliance which is scheduled for Saturday and we will discuss that mater there fully,” he said.
Roopnaraine, who has been in poor health for several months now, is now the Minister of Public Service and he would be operating out of the Ministry of the Presidency. “I am firmly of the view that Minister Roopnaraine would be able to exercise full authority over the Public Service,” he said.
Despite several blunders by Nicolette Henry as Junior Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sport, Harmon said President Granger has expressed confidence in her to take over the entire Ministry from Roopnaraine until he decides otherwise.
Harmon noted, however, that a Department of Innovations and Reforms in Education has been established at the Ministry of the Presidency. “It takes away the responsibility for driving innovation, driving reforms and it puts it under the handling of an expert, a technical set of persons who are being identified for that purpose so that the functions of the Office of the Minister of Education, some of those functions would have been removed and dealt with by a special group of persons,” the Minister of State said.
He said those changes are in keeping with recommendations by the Commission of Inquiry into the Education Sector.