Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud has reiterated that his ministry is properly gazetted and has rejected statements to the contrary by former finance minister in the PNC administration, Carl Greenidge.
Persaud said that the ministry for which he is now responsible was published in the Official Gazette of December 17, 2011. He said too that the Constitutional Appointments were published under applicable provisions of articles 101, 103, 106 and 107 of the Constitution and all other powers enabling the President to act.
In a letter in yesterday’s Guyana Chronicle, Greenidge said that the gazetting the minister is stoutly defending does not suffice for the purposes of his query.
“The December 17th issue of the Official Gazette does not satisfy my query,” Greenidge wrote in a letter.
“To be authorised to be allocated funds from the Consolidated Fund, the new ministry, to which Minister Persaud has been assigned, needs to be explicitly named as a Budget Agency – like his former ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said
Greenidge said this can be done by amending the schedule which forms part of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2003. “I am still not aware of such an amendment. Until such time as that schedule is amended, the minister should not be giving instructions to spend funds against or in the name of the new ministry,” he said.
Greenidge said too that even if the new ministry has already been gazetted, Minister Persaud is in no position to be instructing the GGMC to be making purchases of anything not related to mining, on behalf of that ministry.
“The GGMC has a Board and that Board, chaired by Major General (ret) Joseph Singh has a specific mandate, captured in the equivalent of its Articles of Association, which does not include elephants or the Botanical Gardens; neither does it include funding the minister’s personal activities or out-of-pocket expenses for overseas trips,” the former finance minister said.
“Additionally, I believe that the powers to appoint officials, such as mining inspectors, reside with the head of the agency and not with a minister. The very public pledge that the minister made to the Miners’ Association about his intention to make such appointments needs, therefore, to be explained. I trust that the Board has been able to inform the minister accordingly,” Greenidge pointed out.
He also argued that the minister’s powers are curtailed by the fact that all matters of policy for the areas which fall under the new ministry are in the remit of the President.
“In closing, permit me to also draw attention to the manner in which his powers and their scope have been cast. His mandate is restricted to the administration of the ministry’s area of responsibility.
This takes on a very interesting dimension when it is understood that the responsibility for all policies in relation to the areas to which the minister has been assigned have been reserved for the President. This is very unusual indeed and appears in effect to relegate the minister to being a junior minister in the Office of the President. More importantly, it raises the question of what exactly is his role compared with that of the Permanent Secretary of the ministry,” Greenidge said.