By Samuel Sukhnandan
At least four former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government ministers were given 36 hours to vacate government property they were occupying at various locations in the capital city, Georgetown.
These include: Ms. Simona Broomes, former minister with responsibility for youth; Ms. Valarie Adams, former minister within the Agriculture Ministry; Dr. Karen Cummings, former Foreign Affairs Minister and Mr. Hemraj Rajkumar, former Business Minister.
This was confirmed with Clerk of the National Assembly Mr. Sherlock Isaac, who told News Talk Radio 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online on Thursday that a letter was dispatched from his office with these clear instructions to the former ministers. He said these buildings were being rented by the government through the Parliament.
But the coalition has already expressed disappointment with the move, with AFC executive Sherod Duncan arguing that although these buildings were being rented through the National Assembly, the contract between public buildings and landlords is that each would give the other one months notice. This however did not happen in these cases.
Asked to comment on this, Isaacs told this publication, “I do not wish to comment since in my view this is moreso political and I was once told by a senior government functionary, when the elephants fight the grass suffer. And I don’t want to be the grass that suffers.”
The clerk was directed by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Texiera to write to the former ministers about the decision to vacate.
Only a few days ago, former Region Three Information Officer for the APNU+AFC, Ganesh Manipaul was also given 72 hours to vacate the government property he was occupying at Leonora on the West Coast of Demerara. Regional Chairman, Julius Faerber had instructed his Regional Executive Officer, Jennifer Ferreira- Dougall, to write the notice of eviction to Mahipaul who is also the General Manager of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited.
The APNU+AFC has already called out the new government for embarking on what they described as a “witch-hunting exercise”, where a four-man team was appointed to conduct a rapid financial and management assessment of 19 government agencies.
Both Christopher Ram and Nigel Hinds who form part of that team, were hired back in 2015 when the APNU+AFC government took up office, to conduct forensic audits of several of the very government agencies.