Former Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin on Friday admitted he has no academic qualifications for the post to which he was appointed – Director of Manufacturing and Marketing in the Ministry of Business.
The post involves the enforcement of standards, providing assistance to small producers and access to markets, particularly Eastern Caribbean markets.
“In terms of my own qualifications, I don’t pretend to have any qualifications.
“Like some people, I’ve never been to university, I never had that privilege. I don’t have degrees before or after my name,” he said at a press conference held at the Alliance For Change (AFC) headquarters in Georgetown on Friday.
However, he noted that he has spent almost 40 years in manufacturing and understand the challenges faced by manufacturers in Guyana and what needs to be done to address some of those challenges and make the manufacturing sector more competitive.
It was pointed out that the Ministry of Business functioned without a Director of Manufacturing and Marketing for the past four years. Added to that the position was not advertised before the appointment was made, raising concerns about the need for it.
But Gaskin said he “personally believes that a position dedicated to that particular responsibility or that particular area is certainly not a frivolous appointment and it certainly has a focus and it’s certainly in an area where attention is badly needed.”
Gaskin’s appointment was also made along with that of three other Ministers who resigned in April but were all re-employed to serve within the same Ministries –also in positions which were created for them.
Defending the move, Gaskin said the President identified areas of deficiencies, one of which included manufacturing and marketing and then made the appointment. The Former Minister said he was unable to place adequate attention during his tenure.
Asked about his salary and benefits, Gaskin said: “I have no idea, we have not even had that discussion.”
However, he said he will not enjoy the same benefits as if he was Minister of Business.
“I certainly don’t think as a former Minister and accepting an appointment with less responsibilities that the compensation would or should be the same,” he said adding that “…this is not something that I need to do, not something I am looking for.
“I think there is much more opportunities in the private sector than in Government.
Following his resignation, the former Minister had said he is eager to return to the private sector. Prior to 2015, he managed Topaz Jewellery with his wife who is the daughter of President David Granger.
Gaskin said his appointment “not a long term appointment or something I am looking to make a career out of.”
With elections within a year, he said it would not have been proper for the Government to create a long term position but rather a short term appointment that can dedicate itself to improving Guyana’s manufacturing and marketing of its exports.