Chandarpal was not asked to resign as minister - OP
-advisory role pro bono
Stabroek News
August 4, 2004

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Navin Chandarpal was not requested at any time to resign as minister, nor were there any issues of wrongdoing or "malfunctioning" on his part, the Office of the President (OP) said yesterday.

In a press release, OP said President Bharrat Jagdeo would have preferred to have Chandarpal - now presidential adviser - continue as Agriculture Minister, but respected his personal preference.

The release said certain sections of the media which it did not name have attempted to distort Chandarpal's role and undermine his professional and personal integrity. OP called for those "mischievous" sections of the media to refrain from speculation, distortions and slander.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon explained last week that Chandarpal is working pro bono as advisor on Sustainable Development and did not carry out the same functions as when he served as presidential advisor on Science, Technology and Environment.

The release said sections of the media have sought to interpret such a relationship to mean that Chandarpal was removed as a minister and is not in a real working arrangement with the Office of the President. "Such allegations are untrue," the release said.

"The fact is that Mr Chandarpal chose to resign as a minister in June 2003 and indicated to [the President] his preference to function in the area of sustainable development."

He also said he wanted to share his services in the area of sustainable development at a regional level, as a follow-up to his previous contributions over several years as chairman of the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology.

"Mr Chandarpal agreed at the time of his resignation to maintain a role as Advisor on Sustainable Development to the President but requested in the context of his intended Caribbean activities to carry out such a function without a salary and without any administrative responsibilities," the release said.

Chandarpal has been performing the functions in the way agreed since mid-2003, and one of his major roles is serving as Coordinator of the Cabinet-appointed Natural Resources and Environment Advisory Committee, which the Prime Minister chairs. According to the release, Chandarpal interacts on a regular basis with local and foreign agencies on matters related to the implementation of policies and action plans in the areas of natural sciences and environmental management.

Since the current arrangement took effect, Chandarpal has been serving as Chairman of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean, which is a Caribbean-wide body affiliated to the Global Organisation.

He is also providing services, though not pro bono, for the Caribbean implementation of the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Plan of Action and for activities aimed at reducing risks to poor, vulnerable communities in the Caribbean.