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Make-up of State boards to reviewed

Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

The government has promised to review the composition of some State boards given the concerns expressed, particularly by the opposition’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration in relation to ethnic and gender balance.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon told a post-cabinet news conference on Friday August 21 that the government has heard the concerns and will be addressing them.

He said that the opposition created a “fire storm” over the matter but expressed that the public was only now getting a glimpse of what these State boards entail since the former government was now publicizing the matter.

During the budget debates last evening, opposition members heckled and criticized that State boards must cater for gender and ethnic balance. He said that while the government will take into consideration the observation made, he questioned whether the opposition hecklers were previously aware of the boards’ composition since that information was not readily made public.

He said nonetheless, “We welcome this intervention; we welcome this interest by civil society in these matters. That is what we believe will bring good governance to this country.”

“It is the first time Guyanese are now getting a glimpse into what happens on these boards and these commissions and it is because we are publishing these things because we believe scrutiny keeps you in  check and allows you to govern in a more even and balanced way.”

Harmon said that government was not angry that people will criticize and make these statements because it believes in an open society.

Outside of that, Harmon said that some boards are still under review. While there have been some complaints of delays and threats of legal action, Harmon pointed out that some boards have a natural life and cannot be changed until it comes to an end.

Harmon added that within some boards, the chairman, the secretary and some members have certain time in which they are changed. He said the boards continue to be re-examined.