Heads of several state agencies are appointed by state boards and not the president or cabinet, Dr Roger Luncheon testified yesterday.
Luncheon, who heads the Presidential Secretariat and is the Cabinet Secretary, was at the time being led in evidence during a re-examination by attorney Anil Nandlall in the $10M libel case brought by President Bharrat Jagdeo against Kaieteur News and its columnist Freddie Kissoon.
During his two hours of testimony before Justice Brassington Reynolds, Luncheon clarified the appointments of the heads of several agencies, including the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Georgetown Public Hospital, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, the National Communications Network (NCN), GoInvest, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Guyana Forestry Commission, the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute and Guyana Livestock Development Agency. He said the heads of these agencies are appointed by state boards and not the president or cabinet
Among those office holders who are appointed by the president or cabinet, he said, are the Chancellor, the Auditor General, the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority and head of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology. He noted that the Speaker of the National Assembly is not appointed by the president or cabinet, rather the office holder is elected.
Nandlall, who is Jagdeo’s lawyer, sought similar clarifications with respect to several state corporations which were mentioned during cross examination but defence attorney Nigel Hughes objected. According to Hughes, the witness had already answered the question and he pointed out that he could not see what was to be clarified. After submissions by the two lawyers, the judge ruled that some clarifications were needed.
Luncheon said that the heads of GuySuCo, the Guyana Water Incorporated and the Guyana Power and Light Company are also appointed by boards, while the head of the Guyana Energy Agency was appointed by the Prime Minister.
Nandlall then went on to seek clarification on several appointments within the Georgetown Hospital. Luncheon later pointed that several of the positions named by Nandlall actually fell under the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs and not the Georgetown Hospital. He said that that those persons were appointed by the Public Service Commission. A few of the positions mentioned by Nandlall, he also said, were appointed by the Hospital’s Board and not the president or cabinet.
Luncheon told the court that HIV, Malaria and TB programmes are funded projects and the appointments to head them are not made by the president or cabinet.
Nandlall sought to clarify who appointed former Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Denis Hanomansingh and the current one, Shalimar Ali-Hack.
Hughes objected on the grounds that the question was already answered in cross-examination but Nandlall submitted that the witness said Hanomansingh was appointed by the president, which was not clear. He said he was seeking to clarify who that president was.
Luncheon later said that Hanomansingh was appointed by former president Janet Jagan while Ali-Hack was appointed on a constitutional amendment.
The case has been adjourned to December 1, when Nandlall is expected to conclude his re-examination of Luncheon.