It is with some measure of regret that I join in the debate on whether President David Granger should require the resignation of the Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan in the wake of the latest prison escape.
While many have hurled opprobrium at the head of the Minister, I accept his explanation that the unfortunate events that have occurred recently involving escaped prisoners are not his fault, directly. However, I cannot ignore the fact that Guyana recognises the concept of ministerial responsibility, which is a universally accepted norm of public administrative behaviour. I myself have in recent years reminded several ministers in the immediate past administration of that. Accordingly, although the Minister may not have been personally culpable, the unfortunate situation of three serious prison breaks or fires in fifteen months during the Minister’s remit demands that he take ultimate responsibility for this.
The President and the coalition may nevertheless be of the view (and they may be uniquely poised for this) that Minister Ramjattan can still make a valuable contribution in another area within the Cabinet. Recently, there have been statements expressed that President Granger is populating the public sector with recently retired military persons. While I hold no brief for or against such perceptions, it may be fortuitous for the President to appoint someone with a military background as his new Minister of Public Security. Such a person would likely bring a wealth of experience to the position, as well as bolster public confidence in the administration of public security. Two names that immediately spring to mind are Brigadier General (ret’d) Edward Collins, or Major General (ret’d) Joseph G Singh.
Brynmor T I Pollard, SC