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Ramotar hints at new Cabinet faces

President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar Thursday hinted at changes to his Cabinet and regional levels should his party win next Monday’s general and regional elections with the aim of ensuring accountability and good governance.

“My new administration will have changes at every level of governance for Cabinet, Regional Government and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council. This will be done to improve the level of government services and management of the entire country,” he said in a statement issued through the Government Information Agency (GINA).

He added that those persons, who have been committed and served with distinction at the various levels of government services, would be retained. “The PPPC’s commitment has always been to ensure that there are improved government functions to all citizens, and to allow for greater accountability and transparency,” said Ramotar.

The President’s statement comes against the background of persistent claims by the opposition about nepotism and corruption, a major campaign issue in the run-up to next week’s polls for the presidency, legislature and 10 regional administrations. Concerns have been raised about the mid-March formal agreement between government and Dax Contracting Services for the rehabilitation and maintenance of government’s botched fibre-optic cable from Lethem to Georgetown.

He assured that the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) would continue to operationalize modern and equitable governance approaches in the areas of governing fairly, justly and with respect for the rights of citizens.

Ramotar’s statement appeared to address concerns among party faithful that certain PPP activists and officials in government have not been functioning in their best interest. That was acknowledged by Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo at a recent PPPC public meeting in Eccles, East Bank Demerara. “I know many comrades have grievances. Some people don’t like the PPP activists in the area. Some don’t like the NDC (Neighbourhood Democratic Council) Chairman, some say they didn’t fix my drain, the water lil brown, all kinds of things.. ah not voting,” he said. “Don’t judge us on the basis of your relationship with the NDC Chairman or the police charge you for speeding and you say ‘me ent voting’…”

Ramotar said based on the PPPC’s hundreds of meetings around the country, we recognize that the competence and integrity of his party in government must be maintained.

Ramotar’s suggestion that there would be new faces in the Cabinet comes almost one month after Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran was heard on two recordings insulting and cursing a women and children’s rights activist.

Under mounting domestic and international pressure for Ramsaran to resign or be fired, President Ramotar relieved him of his duties but later said he was sorry for him. The President noted that Ramsaran was known for his kindness and human rights advocacy.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall remains on the job, despite being heard on a recorded private telephone conversation with a Kaieteur News reporter talking about the likelihood of its Saffon Street offices being attacked by armed persons who are angered at that media house’s coverage. He was also heard expressing an interest in a young female reporter on behalf of his uncle.

Nandlall has expressed regret about those statements and has reaffirmed his commitment to the rights of women and children.