Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Dr David Hinds believes that the President David Granger’s request to ask a very ill Dr Rupert Roopnaraine to remain in government was “legitimate”, noting that there are “a lot of sick people in government.”
Dr Hinds made these comments on Wednesday during a WPA press conference at Rodney House in Queenstown.
Dr Roopnaraine had submitted his resignation to the President, citing ill health but after a meeting with the Head of State, he rescinded his resignation after assurances were given that efforts will be made to ensure his workload will not put a strain on his mental and physical state.
When asked by News Room whether the request by the President to ask an ill person to remain in government was fair, Dr Hinds said, “it is a legitimate request by the president and if your president asks you to do something, you’d want to consider it in the interest of the country.”
Dr Hinds added that, “We have a lot of sick people in government, it’s normal for people to make that determination and balance.”
According to Dr Hinds, “(If) you don’t feel like to continue but your president ask you to continue and you say look, I am going to try to balance my consideration for my health and service to country.”
He stressed that it is important to note that the President assured “they are going to give him as much support that he needs to function.”
But when asked for the Party’s opinions on whether Dr Roopnaraine’s health will negatively impact his performance, Dr Hinds posited that it is an “unfair” question for the WPA.
“It’s the President who asked him to stay on,” he stated, indicating that the question is best suited for the Head of State.
When further asked why should the government pay more to keep a sick person in government, Dr Hinds explained that Dr Roopnaraine will not be getting any special treatment.
The WPA member said Dr Roopnaraine’s workload will not be reduced nor will he get additional staff to divide the responsibilities assigned.
“He will not be getting more assistance than other ministers are getting,” Dr Hinds stated.
Dr Hinds said Dr Roopnaraine will remain a senior minister and member of the Cabinet in his capacity as Minister of the Public Service under the Ministry of the Presidency.
The WPA was disgruntled following the removal of its only government representative from the Education Ministry to a department under the Ministry of the Presidency; however on Wednesday Dr Hinds said the Party is satisfied with the decision.
The Party said following its APNU Executive Meeting on July 22, assurances were given that Dr Roopnaraine remains a senior member of the government and that measures will be put in place to ensure he gets all he needs to function in his new office.
Dr Hinds said the WPA continues to express confidence in Dr Rooparaine.