Sharma cannot give up post without President’s approval– Jagdeo

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Days after a Government Minister offered his post to an opposition member, their leader Bharrat Jagdeo ridiculed the proposal, saying that a decision of that nature cannot be made without presidential approval.

Junior Finance Minister, Jaipaul Sharma told News Room Wednesday that he would give up his post to the opposition spokesperson on the economy, Irfaan Ali in an effort to push for “inclusionary governance” which he believes entails power-sharing.

But Jagdeo told reporters at a news conference Thursday that Minister Sharma does not have the authority to make that call.

Chuckling when asked to respond to the proposal, Jagdeo said: “I don’t think Jaipaul Sharma could really determine that for the President.”

President David Granger has already stated that there is no proposal for power-sharing with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

Jagdeo believes the Junior Minister’s comments are an attempt to attract some relevance to the Party which he belongs, the Justice For All (JFA).

“I think he is trying to create a little niche for his Party,” the Opposition Leader said, noting that many small parties will be trying to differentiate themselves in the lead up to the elections.

Minister Sharma, who is the only JFA representative in the coalition government, believes that in the context of inclusionary governance, there should be power-sharing among the political parties so that the country can be united.

Jaipaul Sharma, Minister within the Ministry of Finance

He said especially in the case of the PPP where it has a significant percentage of the population’s support, it would be advantageous to have members taking up key governmental positions so the citizens can see that the politicians are genuine when they speak about developing the country.

Jagdeo said he believes under any governance structure, all political parties must be involved. He said currently, that involvement is at the level of constitutional commissions and parliamentary committees where the opposition players have a voice.

He lamented, however, that the Government is not allowing those bodies to function as intended. In the case of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – which examines public expenditure – Jagdeo lamented that for the first time in recent history, a Government Minister is sitting on that committee.

He was referring to Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence – whose Ministry, he says, is the subject of many discrepancies and financial mismanagement.

Jagdeo noted too that at standing committees, Government Ministers who are supposed to be answerable to those committees, are sitting on the committees which are empowered to hold them accountable.

Jagdeo, a former president, explained that under the PPP regime, ministers were not on those committees. Instead, other Parliamentarians who were not ministers sat on those committees.

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