Harmon not Cabinet Secretary two years now
Minister of State Joseph Harmon today acknowledged that he does not formally hold the post of Cabinet Secretary.
That post is being held by retiree Edward Persico, who served for many years as the Company Secretary/Human Resources Manager at the GTM Insurance Company.
The appointment, Harmon said, was made two years ago and is in keeping with public pronouncements by former Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon that he, Harmon, could not hold the position of Cabinet Secretary since this is a public office and should not be held by a minister of government.
Section (1) 117 of the Constitution of Guyana states that: “There shall be a Secretary to the Cabinet whose office shall be a public office.”
The government had not previously announced Persico’s appointment. Mr Harmon said he still performs Cabinet services, but Persico is the actual Cabinet Secretary and affixes his signature to documents accordingly.
“In light of the disclosure by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, that he is the Secretary to the Cabinet, while at the same time holding office as a Minister of State, a member of Cabinet and a Member of Parliament, the President may be called upon to explain this apparent breach of the Constitution,” Dr Luncheon had said in a letter to the press.
“I raise these two concerns because during my tenure as both the Secretary to the Cabinet and Secretary to the Defense Board, between 1992 and 2013, I, at no time, had reason to believe that as a Minister and Member of Parliament, I could still act in these two posts,” Luncheon added.
While Mr Harmon stated that Persico has been in place as Cabinet Secretary two years now, it was only in October of this year that he rebuffed Dr Luncheon’s pronouncement on the matter.
“It seems like Dr Luncheon woke up like Vanwinkle after two years to realise that? But Dr Luncheon is a medical doctor, he is not a constitutional judge and therefore I don’t appoint myself and I am sure that government has taken note of what needs to be done in this country and therefore we will not be stymied by what Dr luncheon and the entire PPP tries to do now, with every single item, every single day, they are trying to raise up something,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on October 14, 2017.