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‘Big government’ unjustified without proper study- Henry Jeffrey

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 May 2015, 19:33 by GxMedia

The size of Guyana’s new cabinet and ministerial designations appear to be too large and inexplicable in the absence of a proper study that seeks to justify it, according to Political Analyst, Dr. Henry Jeffrey.

“Nothing I know seems to suggest you should have so many ministers particularly in the context where you were cussing up the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) all the time about ministers,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

President David Granger and 25 ministers, including three Vice Presidents, make up the Cabinet of the coalition-led administration compared to the President and 17 ministers in the People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration.

In remarks shortly after nine ministers took their oaths of office before him, the President said the Cabinet was geared to return Guyana to good governance and reflected government’s commitment to national unity, efficiency and transparency.  On the issue of having a lean government, Granger later told reporters that almost every ministry has a junior minister and three Vice Presidents but that did not mean there was an increase in the number of ministries. “The number of ministries ought not to exceed fifteen and you should not be fooled by the number of junior ministers because they are meant to under-study the seniors and in due course that ‘greyness’ (old persons) would be removed and we will have younger ministers taking senior positions,” said the Guyanese leader.

Dr. Jeffrey suggested that in the absence of a study, the 1990 review and recommendations by KPMG Peat Marwick Mc Lintock that the number of government ministries should be cut to 13 and there should be no junior ministers appear to be still valid. That review had been supported by the British Government.

Asked whether he believed that President David Granger and 25 ministers would go down well with Guyanese at a time when there is need for a lean government. “Obviously, it does not and the only thing that justifies it in my view would be a study to say that ‘we have done this and this is what is recommended’. It can’t be a willy-nilly thing off of somebody’s head,” he said.

Jeffrey, who is a former minister in the PPPC government, questioned the logic behind renaming several ministries and establishing new ministerial portfolios and urged government to provide such information. “No rationale is provided for these things… Change for change sake?” he said.

Actually, the PPPC’s Cabinet should have been 19 but by the time that party was defeated on May 11, 2015 the Junior Minister of Local Government and Regional Development had already left office and no substantive Tourism and Commerce Minister had never been appointed.

The Cabinet is made up of President Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, 1st Vice President and Minister of National Security Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder, Minister of Business and Investment Dominic Gaskin, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Sydney Alicock, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs  Valerie Garrido – Lowe, Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan,  Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jaipaul Sharma, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson , Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson , Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Keith Scott, Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon,   Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, Minister of Public Health  Dr. George Norton, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health  Dr. Karen Cummings, Minister of Education Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Odella Henry, Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection  Simona Broomes, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, and Minister of Social Cohesion,  Amna Ally.

President Granger has said that another Vice President and another minister would be sworn in soon.

Under the PPPC, there were ministries of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Amerindian Affairs, Local Government and Regional Development, Finance, Education, Public Works and Communications, Housing and Water, Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Prime Ministerial Office, Public Service, Natural Resources, Culture, Youth and Sports, Labour, and  Human Services.

At one stage, there were Junior Ministers of Finance and Local Government and Regional Development.

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