Gov't: No nepotism in nomination to World Bank
PNCR: Ms Ramotar under-qualified Stabroek News
November 23, 2003

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An Office of the President official yesterday reasserted that Lisa Ramotar, who is 27 years old, was qualified to be appointed to one of two positions Guyana has been offered at the World Bank, denying claims of nepotism.

But the PNCR says Ramotar's appointment could only have been the result of blatant "influence peddling" by her father and General Secretary of the PPP/Civic, Donald Ramotar. The party says Ms Ramotar "could hardly be described as qualified for appointment to represent Guyana at one of the World's most important multilateral financial institutions."

Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud told Stabroek News that neither the PPP nor its general secretary's office had any role to play in the nomination and selection of Ms Ramotar, or of Govind Ganga, the head of the Bank of Guyana's Research Department.

Also, he said that Ms Ramotar's selection was consistent with the criteria and that she was adequately qualified. But he was unable to say what the selection process was, and referred Stabroek News to the Minister of Finance, Saisnarine Kow-lessar. Repeated calls failed to get a comment from him or from President Bharrat Jag-deo on the issue.

Persaud says that Ms Ramotar has the academic qualifications for the post as she has a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Guyana (1998) and a Masters degree in Finance from York University in the United Kingdom (2001). Also he says that she has the necessary experience having worked at the Bank of Guyana (BoG) since 1998 following her graduation from the University of Guyana. Ms Ramotar's curriculum vitae shows that she served two years at BoG prior to leaving to further her studies, and almost another two years since graduating from the University of York in 2001.

Persaud asked, "Is the PNCR suggesting that qualification and competence are no longer a prerequisite for selection, or is it the PNCR's view that young, qualified professionals should not be considered for such positions?"

At its press conference on Thursday the PNCR said that the persons appointed to the position were required to have "a combination of high academic and professional qualifications and wide-ranging experience in economic policy and planning matters. Ms Ramotar is only recently qualified and has practically no experience in the public service or banking system. If the choice of Guyana's candidate was to be based on merit given the many loyal servants of the government with greater experience and qualifications, Lisa Ramotar would certainly rank very low in the order."

They also disagreed with the declaration by Cabinet Secretary Dr Luncheon that the government was under no obligation to justify her appointment. "They have a moral obligation to the nation, the entire public service and their consciences..."

Observers have questioned Ramotar's appointment and point to several other public servants who are more qualified. Among those they name are Winston Jordan, who has been for several years Budget Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Grace George and Rhonda Nelson, both of whom have been at the Bank of Guyana longer than Ms Ramotar and meet the academic requirements.

They note that as Head of Research, Dr Ganga's appointment would further weaken the Bank of Guyana as he is well suited to be appointed its Governor.