It’s about time President Donald Ramotar cleans house. Reshuffling the cabinet will be an improvement on those who are either incompetent, out of touch, lazy, in poor health, past their expiration date or are unable to perform because of their own deficiencies. Some are just a blatant liability to his party and the government.
Dr Roger Luncheon should be retired on account of poor health. As a PPP stalwart he has given of his best and like Fidel Castro he should lead by example by voluntarily exiting. Ineffectiveness is personified by Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsarran who has too many issues which are simply over his head. The same goes for Education Minister Ms Priya Manickchand who is out of touch with Guyana’s political realities and education needs. While Sport and Culture Minister, Dr Frank Anthony may be personally likeable he has absolutely no immersion in culture. The decision where to site the 1823 monument is not to his credit.
Mr Anil Nandlall has redeemed himself with good results in the courts in defence of Home Affairs Minister Mr Clement Rohee. My respectful suggestion is to shift Mr Nandlall to the Home Ministry where he is best equipped legally and otherwise to handle the job. He also deserves to be made Senior Counsel. Minister Rohee is definitely not under attack because he is incompetent. During his watch as Home Minister he has had excellent results in crime reduction. In serving as the PPP/C point man against AFC leader Mr Khemraj Ramjattan and Mr Moses Nagamootoo they are only seeking revenge by discrediting him. APNU is only too happy to let them lead the assault. The President must signal with finality that Mr Rohee is going nowhere but up. Appointing him Deputy Prime Minister could relieve a hard-working Prime Minister Samuel Hinds of some of his onerous responsibilities which he has been carrying since 1992. The Prime Minister is not getting any younger and Minister Rohee could be of great assistance.
So far Minister Robert Persaud at the Environmental Ministry and Minister Robeson Benn have both been doing excellent work. But the latter needs help in resolving and ensuring the public transportation debacle is urgently rectified and contractors are scrutinized more effectively. It is quite obvious that one of the best Civic ministers has been Dr Leslie Ramsammy ably assisted by Mr Ali Baksh. Both are performing with excellence at the Agriculture Ministry.
No changes are suggested for some ministers who are not only performing admirably but need acknowledgement. Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, Foreign Affairs Minster Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai, and Public Service Minister Jennifer Westford are all doing quite well. So are Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud and Mr Norman Whittaker. Social Services Minister Jennifer Webster could do with a deputy minister. This is an area which urgently needs more attention, a bigger budget, and sensitivity, with so many suicides, child abuse cases and the homeless in urgent need of assistance.
So who should replace Dr Luncheon? Mr Navin Chandarpal is an excellent candidate. He is articulate, an experienced administrator and is tactful enough to be the GOG’s point man with the media. Ms Gail Teixeira is of course the best candidate. An excellent firebrand and not easily pushed around, all her energies and skills are however prerequisites for her continued excellence in Parliament where she has always been most effective even as the PPP/C’s Chief Whip. Mr Ralph Ramkarran will of course make an excellent Attorney General and should have been appointed in the first place. With the combination of Mr Nandlall at Home Affairs, the two legal eagles would present an unmatchable legal team both in the government and in Parliament. Absorbing Mr Ramkarran and harnessing his skills would also give an excellent signal as to how the PPP/C is shaping up for a snap election. Considering a recent court ruling has evoked uncertainty over Amerindian land rights it has also made the Amerindian vote tenuous. Should anything be left to chance?
Possible replacements for the Education Ministry are UG Dean of Social Sciences, Dr Paloma Mohamed with/or Mr Al Creighton of Jamaican origin. Both have excellent public education profiles. The President can decide if they adequately reflect the PPP/C’s education policies. For Sport and Culture, Ms Ryhaan Shah would be an easy fit. She may also be admirably suited as the deputy to the Social Services Minister. When suggested for the PNC/APNU prime ministerial candidate she quickly declined even as there were hints of interest by the opposition party to enlist her in their camp. Her non-partisan ROAR association should come in handy in harnessing all their sympathizers. Definitely the Health Ministry needs two heavyweight medical personnel running things there. Maybe PPP/C MP Dr Vishwa Mahadeo and Dr Shanti Singh (AIDS boss) could be a suitable team, the former with prior administrative experience serving in Essequibo and now currently in Berbice.
When cabinet changes have been made it would then be possible to reshuffle Guyana’s overseas diplomats, parliamentary secretaries and the regional chairmen. In the meantime nothing from these suggestions precludes the President from constitutionally selecting anyone else, possibly from outside the PPP. Of course any inclusion of anyone from the opposition is in his discretionary wisdom.