Jaipaul Sharma willing to give up finance post to PPP

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By Devina Samaroo

Jaipaul Sharma, the Minister within the Ministry of Finance, says he is willing to give up his post to Irfaan Ali, an Opposition spokesperson on the economy, as he believes it is not too late for inclusionary governance.

Sharma, the lone representative of the Justice For All (JFA) Party in the APNU+AFC Government, is also urging other Parties of the Coalition which have more representation, to give up a few portfolios to the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).

“Just imagine you had a member of the PPP/C and I am proposing Irfaan [Ali] because he is the PPP/C economic czar, so [him] sitting here, looking at the numbers, he could testify to the financial position of the Government,” Minister Sharma told News Room during an interview at his Main Street Office on Tuesday.

Contending that the benefits of inclusionary governance are many, the politician called on his partners in Government to embrace a similar posture, especially since they can afford to give up a few positions.

“My political party only have one seat in the National Assembly and it has one ministerial post. So my position of giving up my position as Minister, I am giving up 100%,” Minister Sharma explained.

He noted that Parties like the Alliance For Change (AFC) and the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) can share some portfolios with the Opposition since they have many positions within the Government.

Sharma made it clear that he is not betraying the coalition but he is of the view that inclusionary governance will do well for democracy if the PPP, which has a large support base across the country, is represented in the Government.

“I don’t see it as anyway attacking the Government or being in bed with the Opposition,” he said, noting that only last week, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo called for him to be jailed for being “stupid”.

According to Sharma, an inclusionary governance structure will give the governing party leverage as the Opposition will have firsthand exposure to challenges.

Referring to the Teachers’ demands for increased salaries, Sharma explained if there were Opposition members in Government, they could easily testify to the difficulties that exist in meeting those demands.

He further noted that having the PPP and the APNU+AFC coalition in a shared governance structure will contribute significantly to a united country.

“I believe in having such things. You can look in the eyes of the people of this country and you can speak with one voice and the people need to know that the politicians and the government are genuine,” Sharma said.

A proposal for inclusionary governance which was made to the PPP shortly after the coalition won the 2015 elections.

But Sharma, who is not a member of the Cabinet, expressed if someone truly wants something, they will, to their “last day”, ensure it is accomplished.

“You either want it or you don’t want it. So if you want it, you shall try your best to ensure it is something that you will always strive,” Sharma noted.

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