Former GRDB boss Jagnarine Singh is new CEO of NAREI

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One day after the News Room reported the removal of longstanding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NAREI), Dr. Oudho Homenauth from the post, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha on Wednesday introduced the new CEO to senior officers of the institute.

The new CEO, who has been named Jagnarine Singh, the former head of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), will act in the position until he or another substantive CEO is appointed.

Minister Mustapha has since charged the new CEO and his team to immediately begin crafting a strategic plan which will bring about a holistic change to the operations at the agency.

“You senior officers have to make sure that we drive Guyana’s food agenda and the only way we can do that is by restructuring ourselves and to push the agenda of the Government,” the minister said to the NAREI staff at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha (center) and Jagnarine Singh (left) meet with the staff of NAREI (Photo: DPI/March 10, 2021)

Mr Singh, in brief remarks, said he is prepared to work aggressively to develop the agency.

On Tuesday, Minister Zulfikar confirmed the removal of Dr. Homenauth who served in the position for over 20 years. He said the CEO was not fired but rather reassigned to the Ministry of Agriculture.

“He was never fired, he has a choice if he wants to continue, he will continue here [at the Ministry of Agriculture],” the Minister told the News Room when contacted.

Mustapha explained that since becoming a Minister in August 2020, he has been engaged in intense strategic planning, and as a result, changes needed to be made in several agencies.

“Things can’t be done in the same old way so we moving him, he is way advanced in age and as Minister, I don’t want to dismiss, so I give him the option to come to the Ministry and work along and overlook,” the Agriculture Minister told the News Room.

He said NAREI needs a new CEO who “can move around and get things done.”

Calls to Dr Homenauth by the News Room on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday went unanswered.

According to information in the public domain, in May 2000, Dr Homenauth was appointed as the CEO of NAREI.

While under his command, the institute was the first to establish shade houses, re-emphasise a number of spices, establish a turmeric factory and diversify into potato and onion production.

Dr Homenauth also led the entity to explore corn and soybean production.

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