AFC supports age policy for Government arms; Hamilton Green to be removed- Harmon
Following the move to ask Cecil Kennard to step down as Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to provide space for youths has seen many persons calling for the resignation of other senior persons sitting on Government boards.
On Wednesday (February 01, 2017), President David Granger said his Government is “focused on creating an atmosphere in which other persons, who are younger, are able to take a lead.” He added that a general review is being undertaken of the State Boards, Agencies and Commissions, with the aim of establishing an age of retirement for persons who sit on these Government arms.
One person whose name was called out for immediate action from the government is Former Mayor and Prime Minister Hamilton Green who is the current Chairman of the Board of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).
On Thursday during the weekly Post Cabinet media briefing, Minister of State Joseph Harmon assured members of the media that Mr. Green will not be returning to the Board of the CH & PA when it is reconstituted. The life of this board ended in 2016.
“We do believe that the fact that we have so many younger persons who are there, competent as well to carry out these duties that we believe they ought to be given a chance. We have would recognised that these persons who are in these positions who have actually been retired already from a previous profession and that they’ve been engaged after that retirement” Harmon said.
Mr Harmon says “there are other persons in the public sector who would be similarly affected because it is important that we (Government) create some upward mobility for other people in the system.”
This move was also criticized by Leader of the Opposition and General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party, Bharrat Jagdeo who believes the argument advanced by President David Granger for the removal of Justice Kennard seems biased while drawing attention to Dr. Clive Thomas who is still the Chairman of Guysuco’s board and also Chairman of the State Asset Recovery Unit.
Mr Jagdeo maintains that he does not discriminate against professionals because of age, providing that the individual can get the job done but he still criticizes the President’s decision regarding Justice Kennard.
The Opposition Leader pointed out that Dr. Thomas is older than Kennard yet he is still being allowed to function in these capacities.
The President’s move was supported by the Alliance for Change (AFC) during a press conference on Thursday. Leader of the Party, Raphael Trotman said “The Youth for Change (AFC youth arm) as I would have heard from the GYSM (Guyana Young Socialist Movement- PNC) and the PYO (Progressive Youth Organisation- PPP) that there is a clamour for younger persons to take their rightful place in decision making and I believe ways have to be found.”
Minister Harmon also rebuffed claims of discrimination noting that the move is not meant to disrespect or disregard the senior public officials adding that there has to be a balance “where efficiency is concerned (and) where a person’s age is concerned.”
Chairman of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjatan highlighted that there are age limits for certain Judges and Chancellors among others.
“Are we to say because the law says that at the age of 72, you must demit office that that law is discriminatory? There are age limits, 55 it being in relation to what a Commissioner of Police will have to go. Do we say that that is discriminatory? And when you are there on by 80 and longer time than 80, by executive action, the President writes and say you know, it’s about time,” Ramjattan said.
Kennard who is almost 80-years-old was asked by the Head of State to step down from the position of Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority by the end of February, according to media reports.
Bibi Khatoon, Delicia Bailey and Stacy Carmichael contributed to this story.