In the face of mounting speculation about the future role of Former President Bharrat Jagdeo in the administration of Guyana, he has been appointed to Chair a National Economic Council free of cost and also help craft the manifesto of his ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) for the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.
“While he has made clear his non-interest in any constitutional post, his Chair of this Council would ensure that we tap his vast experience and competence in making our country more prosperous. The former President will be offering his services on a pro-bono basis,” said President Donald Ramotar in making the announcement.
Ramotar’s announcement Friday afternoon came even as the PPPC was contemplating how to deal with a petition by 6,000 persons in East Berbice for Jagdeo to be made the Prime Ministerial candidate.
There have been also legal maneuvers by an ordinary citizen, Cedric Richardson, who challenged the constitutionality of the amendment of the Constitution in 2001 to provide for a two-term limit to a presidential candidacy. Richardson, through his lawyers, says the constitution should have been amended by a referendum rather than by two-thirds of elected members of the National Assembly.
Former Chairman of the Constitutional Reform Commission, Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran has said that Richardson has no legal grounds to stand on.
Just prior to the November 2011 general and regional elections, then President Jagdeo had appointed Ramotar a political advisor after he had been critcised for using State resources on the PPPC’s campaign.
Following is President Ramotar’s statement
The economic transformation and modernization of our country are priorities that require the skills of every bright and experienced mind as well as an enabling framework.
While I am proud of the progress made so far, I believe greater focus and attention can lead to enhanced performance in many crucial areas.
I have decided to establish a National Economic Council to bring greater support to my government in enhancing and accelerating our transformational and modernization agenda.
I have asked former President Bharrat Jagdeo who has served for a number of years as the pivot in the modernisation of our economy and led in the crafting of many strategies including the National Development Strategy, the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Low Carbon Development Strategy to Chair this Council.
More importantly as Head of State for over a decade through a most crucial and rewarding period, former President Bharrat Jagdeo has much to offer and has kindly agreed to assume this responsibility as chair of the National Economic Council. Further his growing international profile and work can be useful for this effort.
This Council will, among other things, assist in conceptualising and crafting of economic strategies and initiatives as well as support in the oversight in the implementation of various projects and strategic interventions.
The Council I anticipate can give impetus to the already successful efforts of ensuring that my government continues to be responsive to the socio-economic needs of our people.
While he has made clear his non-interest in any constitutional post, his Chair of this Council would ensure that we tap his vast experience and competence in making our country more prosperous. The former President will be offering his services on a pro-bono basis.
The work of this Council will commence almost immediately. The composition and terms of reference of the council will be made public.
The former President would also be assisting in the crafting of the PPP/C Manifesto.