Two former ministers in the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration have been offered jobs with the six-
month old coalition-led administration, according to well-placed sources.
They are former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud and former Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Kishore Gopaul.
Initial information is that Persaud is tipped to be given a job in investment promotion and Gopaul, if he accepts, could be heading a US$30 million project to develop the former D’Urban Park Racecourse- the large swathe of vacant land aback the 1763 Slave Rebellion ‘Cuffy’ Monument between Homestretch Avenue and Hadfield Street.
Prior to and after the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration had committed itself to inclusionary governance by reaching out across the political divide.
He late October attended the opening of a two-day conference on ‘Building Capacity for Managing the Hydrocarbon Sector in Guyana,’ at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre. At the opening of that conference, Governance Minister Raphael Trotman had remarked that “I ask aloud and rhetorically: Will we allow our political differences to divide and diminish our potential once again? And I am very pleased to see seated here former minister of natural resources and my friend Mr. Robert Persaud; thank you for coming and joining us today.”
The Guyana Trades Union Congres (GTUC), which has historical ties to the People’s National Congress Reform- the largest partner in APNU- had often condemned Gopaul for what it had regarded as his less than satisfactory role in addressing the plight of more than 50 bauxite workers who had been fired by RUSAL.
Gopaul has strong roots in labour and politics, having been a key figure in the National Association of Agricultural and Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE).
Persaud had been heavily criticized because a radio station with which he had been connected had been allocated several radio frequencies by then President, Bharrat Jagdeo prior to the establishment of the Broadcasting Authority.
Sources said he has virtually severed ties with the PPP, having not attended any leadership meetings since mid May, 2015.
Persaud’s acquisition of a house lot and sale of that land and house at Pradoville Two (Sparendaam-Goedverwagting) is among several that are now part of a legal challenge by former parliamentarian, Desmond Trotman and the Committee for the Defence of the Constitution Inc. They want the High Court to set aside the purported sale and transfer of lands at Goedverwagting and Sparendaam and they be put in the hands of the Finance Minister.
The State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) has also taken steps to have the matter addressed by the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers.