Guyana government denies campaign of vindictiveness against former ministers, officials
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The newly installed People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government says it will not be “bullied’ and urged former president David Granger to encourage former ministers and political appointees to hand over state assets.
“We are not the ones looking for a fight, tell your appointees under your government to do the honourable thing and hand over… but it is looking like its bully season,” said Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira on Friday.
She said they should do like Granger and give up state assets willingly and walk.
Granger Friday warned of a “vulgar, divisive and vindictive campaign of alienation” against former ministers “within hours” of the new Irfaan Ali administration coming into office last Sunday.
In a statement, Granger, the leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), the major party in the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said that former ministers “whose normal residences are located in the rural and hinterland regions were swiftly ordered to vacate their government quarters, unreasonably, within thirty-six hours”.
“Public servants were locked out of their offices without explanation. Contracted officials were threatened with arbitrary and summary termination of their service,” he said.
But in a virtual briefing on the Facebook page of the Office of the President, Teixeira said that the new government expects that political appointees under the previous administration will do the honourable and dignified thing and hand over state assets in their position and resign.
“We want to assure all our people…that we are not here to take away food from people’s mouths, we are not here to take away public servants jobs who have been working hard… we are not dealing with public servants,” Teixeira said.
“We are asking them to resign and if they do not, they will be getting letters of termination. We are not going to be bullied. At the same time, we have given them a week to do what is right and from Monday they will receive letters,” she added.
She said at least two political appointees have already resigned and handed over state property but resistance was coming from others.
She said Joseph Harmon, who was the Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency and an advisor have both applied for 42 days leave.
Teixeira said she found Granger’s statement to be quite disturbing in which he called on the PPP/C to desist from its pattern of aggression.
“The comments are disturbing and we cannot leave them hanging…a former President coming with that language… we are not going to be preached to by those whose records are now up for examination,” she added.
Teixeira said while Ministers automatically lose their jobs with a change in government and should vacate government premises, political appointees are also expected to do the dignified and democratic thing and follow suit.
“What we have seen here is that Ministers are no longer Ministers and they have vacated their offices and they are expected to hand over state property and assets… cars, offices, residences and other properties,” she added.
Granger said that the PNC, in the national interest, “and with a view to preserving peace and maintaining order, has acted responsibly throughout this prolonged political crisis. We implore all Guyanese to remain calm and peaceful”.
“The PNC will challenge the declared results lawfully. We urge our members, supporters and friends – who have been patient throughout our campaign and the post-elections process – to continue to conduct themselves in a lawful and peaceful manner.” Granger said, praising the various stakeholders “who brought such awesome passion, power and patriotism to the conduct of this important democratic exercise”.