Commissioner of Information has no staff, office but asked to report on his work

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 14:44 by Denis Chabrol

Retired Justice Charles Ramson taking the oath of office as Commissioner of Information before then President, Donald Ramotar.

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo says the Commissioner of Information, Retired Justice Charles Ramson Snr. has not reported on his work in recent years, and at the same time he noted that Ramson has no office or staff.

In considering the 2017 current and capital expenditures for several agencies under the Prime Minister’s Office, Nagamootoo remarked that he had written Ramson asking for a report on his work during the last couple of years but he had received none.

“At the moment he has no staff and no office,” Nagamootoo told the House. Ramson, a former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, was appointed Commissioner of Information by then President Donald Ramotar.

The Office of the Commissioner of Information is based at one of his private houses on East Street, Georgetown.

The House was told that GYD$36 million, including a monthly salary of GYD$1.7 million, have been set aside for the Commissioner of Information.

The Prime Minister refused to answer a question by the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic’s (PPPC) parliamentarian, Juan Edghill about why the Commissioner of Information’s office has not been given a subvention to function independently since he is required to receive information from public authorities of which the Prime Minister’s Office is one of them.

Nagamootoo would only say he would be willing consider a substantive motion on the Commissioner of Information’s office.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said GYD$44 million would be allocated to staff  the Department of Governance, a ministry that has since been  transferred from Minister Raphael Trotman. That Department is being headed by a Director, Attorney-at-Law Tamara Khan  who is being paid GYD$420,000 monthly plus allowances.

The remaining GYD$36 million, Nagamootoo said, would be spent on initial work of constitutional reform that would be backed up by another GYD$80 million to be provided by several non-governmental organisations including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).