Guyana’s new president defends size of cabinet and renaming of ministries

“It is the amalgamation of the ministries that would have created concerns,” the president said. “I have not created a larger number of ministries than existed before; there are now fewer than there were before, as far as the names are concerned, I have explained that some of the changes in name were to emphasise the functions.”

Citing one example, the president pointed out that the ministry of the presidency always existed as it is merely the renaming of the Office of the President. 

“I felt it necessary to have a minister of state, who would continue to act authoritatively to ensure that the Cabinet decisions are implemented throughout the government service,” Granger explained.

Explaining the name change of the ministry of local government to ministry of communities, Granger said, “We are not simply building houses or building roads, we are building communities where human beings live and that is why it was renamed to emphasise the human aspect of local development, local government, of regional government and of housing schemes and water supply.” 

The new head of state stressed the need to see places where citizens dwell, not just a collection of buildings, but a collection of families, so that emphasis can be placed on sporting facilities, culture and other types of community life. These and more, the president said, are more often than not absent from newly developed housing schemes across the country. 

The renaming of the ministry of home affairs to the ministry of public security, the president said is self-explanatory: “What does home affairs mean? Home affairs is an old title which is taken from the British Empire, they had foreign affairs which dealt with international matters and home affairs, but we do not have an empire, so why should we call it home affairs?” 

Likewise the ministry of public infrastructure from the ministry of public works is also self-explanatory as it caters to infrastructure for public use, and will be dealing with stellings, roadways and bridges. 

Meanwhile, responding to the issue of no consultations being held before the renaming of some of the ministries, Granger said, “There is a lot of criticism, but some of it is not well informed. The ministry of indigenous people’s (affairs), the indigenous people said that they prefer to be called ‘indigenous peoples’ rather than to be called Amerindians.” 

With regard to the appointments, he said, “I had to have some consultations before the appointments were made; I could not sit down by myself and make Mr Ramjattan a vice president.”

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