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President mum on reasons for rejecting opposition nominees for NRF Board

Last Updated on Sunday, 6 March 2022, 16:38 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali was Sunday tight-lipped on reasons for rejecting opposition nominees to sit on the governing board of the Natural Resources Fund (NRF), suggesting that the parliamentary majoritarian process in the appointments committee in the end held sway in favour of one of government’s nominees.

“The parliamentary process is that the committee selects someone of standing in a society and a country (and) that process brings out a name,” he told News-Talk Radio Guyana/ Demerara Waves Online News when asked to respond concerns that government appeared use its majority to shut out at least one opposition representative from the NRF Board while talking up ‘One Guyana’. He added, that “there is a parliamentary process in which a committee makes a decision and we have to respect that process.” The President said he would appoint the other Board members as soon as the National Assembly informs him about its members to the Board.

The opposition, by law explicitly, is entitled to a seat on the parliamentary oversight committee of the NRF.

Dr. Ali questioned whether former People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) parliamentarian, Dunstan Barrow was a supporter or member of the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP). Government’s nominees were Mr. Barrow, former Deputy Commissioner General, Clement Sealey and former Guyana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom under the APNU+AFC administration, Hamley Case.  Case had recently accompanied Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo to Ghana. The President indicated that those nominees signaled the PPP’s interest in creating ‘One Guyana.’ “This focus for one moment on these three names that we submitted, that tells you how much interest we have in ‘One Guyana’,” he said .

Asked what was wrong with the opposition People’s National Congress Reform and the Alliance For Change’s nominees- Dr Vincent Adams, Elson Low and Christopher Ram-, the question did not respond but instead fired back: “What is wrong this name? This is not PPP and PNC. You asked a question: What is wrong with the other names? “What is wrong with this name and what is wrong with three names?,” he said.

The PNCR and AFC have cited the expertise and qualifications of their nominees.

The coalition had hoped to sit on the board to scrutinise the management of Guyana’s oil revenues. The PNCR has since slammed the PPP for giving lip service to its much touted ‘One Guyana’ platform by using its majority to exclude the opposition from the NRF Board.