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The decision of the new Government to effectively terminate the services of Dr. Vincent Adams, Director of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), will be demoralizing to many, who like myself, while not knowing him personally have been impressed with the leadership he has brought to the environment and energy fields. Whether or not Dr. Adams continues to be an Executive member of the AFC, there is no public evidence of his taking the EPA in a politically partisan direction.
Rather than feed our toxic politics of assuming anyone hired by the previous administration is ready to sacrifice professional standard for partisan benefit, the new Administration would be better advised to extend the approach adopted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The border issue with Venezuela is considered non-partisan, thereby allowing the services of Carl Greenidge, Foreign Minister in the previous Administration and others not aligned to the ruling party, to be retained.
Surely this approach is even more urgently needed in the area of energy and the environment especially when negotiating with the likes of Exxon with its economy equal to that of a mid-size country. Recruitment of the best professional services of qualified Guyanese requires they be protected from the absurd assumption that they are ready to abandon years of professionalism to partisan politics.
Publicly available information confirms that Dr. Adams is the most accomplished Guyanese energy expert by virtue of his academic background and career path. As one of the highest-ranking civilians in the US Dept. of Energy he led multi-billion dollar environmental and energy projects; developed created and instituted complex technologies at over 20 world-class laboratories and universities and served as the US representative to the international Atomic Energy Agency on technology and standards development. His work in both the environmental and energy fields is unmatched by any other Guyanese.
While the performance of the EPA under Dr. Adams leaves room for improvement, there is general agreement that this relates to resource and inadequate staff rather than to Dr. Adams personally. Unless convincing evidence is provided of less than professional behaviour on the part of Dr. Adams, suspicion will continue to mount that it is precisely professionalism, rather than the lack of it, which is the problem for the administration. This is particularly the case given its conspicuous silence on the environment and climate change, while lionizing extractive industries.
His dismissal removes the one person the average Guyanese could feel some measure of confidence in defending the national interest with respect to oil and gas and the green economy.