My cellphone number is on my Facebook page – Parag dismisses claims of discrimination in scholarship awards

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Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag on Monday issued a stinging rebuke to the Opposition’s claims of lack of inclusiveness in the award of scholarships under the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL), saying her cellphone number is publicly available and anyone can call and get help.

It was APNU+AFC Parliamentarian Mr Ronald Cox, from Region One, who, during the 2023 Budget Debate, said claimed that it was only those who had privileged access to the Minister who are able to get their applications for scholarships approved.

Cox said he had called the Minister after he applied and it was after meeting her that the scholarship was approved. Mr Cox is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education.

But he claimed other indigenous people doesn’t have the access that he did.

“They don’t have the privilege like me to call the Honourable Minister on her phone to help facilitate a scholarship; so they wouldn’t be getting any (scholarship) because they can’t do that (call the Minister).

“Is that what we have to get at?”

Opposition Parliamentarians Ronald Cox (right) and Devon Sears at the National Assembly (Photo: Office of the Leader of the Opposition/ Facebook/ January 23, 2023)

But Minister Parag was the speaker just after him in the budget debate and wasted no time in dismissing his claim.

“My cellphone number is on My Facebook available to all Guyanese, so it’s not just Mr Cox that can call me and get through. Any Guyanese can all me and get through and that is how our government has operated from August 2 to now and we will continue to do so,” Parag stated.

In fact, Parag said it was on one of her community meetings engaging with people in Mabaruma in the North West District that she met Mr Cox over his scholarship.

Later in her presentation, Minister Parag pointed out that another Opposition Parliamentarian was awarded a scholarship under GOAL.

Further, for the Region One, which Mr Cox represents, last year a total of 167 persons were awarded GOAL scholarships.

Parag also listed the number of scholarships for other hinterland regions: 191 from Region 7; 46 from Region 8; and 143 from Region 9.

 

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