Ministries should be re-appraised for Independence
Stabroek News
April 30, 2002

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Dear Editor,

For a small under-populated and developing country like ours with an abundance of natural resources more resources should be allocated.

The University of Guyana has been and still is training many students to take up the challenges for development. But most of these graduates migrate to other countries because the salary they earn in Guyana after four years of study cannot compensate them.

It is time that the administration re-examine its policy for development and decide the way forward.

The recent "coup" or "attempted coup" in Venezuela demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt the vulnerability of Guyana for its supply of petroleum products. Already the brief interruption of supply sent ripples to the consumers. This state of affairs would have been totally different if the oil exploration by the Canadian company had been handled with care and efficiency. Commercial quantities of oil were found but are still to be produced for our benefit. What should have been done in the first place was done after the rig, which would be difficult to obtain again, was forcibly ejected. A lot of information seemed to be withheld from the public, in the end no drilling has commenced.

Instead of taking strong action against the handling of this issue by the Foreign Affairs Minister, he received a pat on the back and another ministry was created for him which overlaps with other ministries.

When a country witnesses such a poor performance at the level of a minister it is expected that the minister will honourably resign his post. The handling of the recent jail break is also a reason for Minister Gajraj to resign. Some of the recommendations of the Williems enquiry were not implemented, how can five dangerous criminals be allowed to mingle freely with one another and with other criminals in the jail? How did they get cell phones and other stuff in the jail? Even when they escaped why was the army not called to comb the area where they were suspected to be hiding?

This is the only country where ministers are nor reshuffled or asked to demit office when their actions become questionable. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Legal Affairs was recently fined for his role in the printing of the law books contract.

Guyana is a small and very poor country, we do not need so many ministries. The government should put austerity measures in place. My suggestion is as follows: one minister for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, Minister S. Sawh. One minister for local government and Amerindian affairs, Minister H. Nokta. One minister for labour, human services and social security, Dr D Bisnauth. One foreign affairs minister, Dr R.Insanally, one minister of trade, tourism and industry, Minister G. Da Silva, a ministry of health , housing and water, Minister S. Baksh, one each for education, legal affairs, home affairs and finance.

Mr President you have the mandate to take this nation forward, act now, let May 26, 2002 be the beginning of a new chapter for our Guyana.

Yours faithfully,

Dayal Singh