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…Ramjattan deems it an indictment on PPP to tax Luncheon in light of ill health
By Svetlana Marshall
People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Stalwart, Dr. Roger Luncheon is back at the Office of the President but in the capacity as an Advisory to President Irfaan Ali.
On Saturday, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira confirmed to Village Voice News that Dr. Luncheon was hired by the Government to serve as an Advisor. “He has been hired as an Advisor to the President and he is not the Head of the Presidential Secretariat,” Minister Teixeira told Village Voice News.
Between 1992 and 2015, the PPP/C stalwart served as Head of the Presidential Secretariat. During that period he also sat on several state boards, and at one time, served as the Cabinet Secretary.
However, in recent years, Dr. Luncheon, due to his ill health, has been confined to a wheelchair and, at one time, walked with the aid of a cane. Staffers at the Office of the President disclosed that Dr Luncheon goes to work and sit behind his desk in his wheelchair. “There is a elevator there so he is assisted to his office and would sit behind his desk in the wheelchair,” one staffer related. “It is very difficult, but he chose to work, but he is not well and I don’t he can do much, not even hold a pen to sign,” the staff told this newspaper.
In reacting to the news of Dr. Luncheon’s appointment, former Vice-President and Minister of Public Security, under the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Administration, Khemraj Ramjattan, acknowledged the career public servant for his vast institutional knowledge but at the same time expressed concern for his health.
“Dr. Roger Luncheon is probably the most astute advisor they had…with the institutional memory from since the days of the 1990s. [However], I would just hope that Roger Luncheon is a fit person, because as I understand, he was going through a heavy set of chemotherapy and had to be bedridden,” Ramjattan told Village Voice News.
Ramjattan said while Dr. Luncheon brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, he is unsure whether his “physical constitution” would allow him to effectively execute his mandate.
“I think they will be taxing him extraordinarily heavily. They should not do that to an old comrade of mine at all,” Ramjattan said.
He added: “I know that he is basically a person that understands Guyana’s politics, like nobody else, and he was a Jaganite, a far cry from being a Jagdeo-ite but I think it will be taxing his physical constitution tremendously.”
Ramjattan said too that People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration’s decision to rely on Dr. Luncheon is a strong indication that the party’s middle range leadership lacks the requisite capacity, and according to him, the party only have its Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo to blame.
Ramjattan, who was expelled from the PPP/C, said Jagdeo, during his term in Office, pushed people like Moses Nagamootoo and Ralph Ramkarran out of the party.
“It is a serious indictment as to succession plans that the PPP did not put in place,” Ramjattan said. Further he submitted that Dr. Luncheon maybe needed for his propagandist skills. “He was master of the art, when answering questions from reporters and explaining government’s projects and policies, to ensure that he gave that spin to it, and I believe that because they don’t have any other like Roger Luncheon, who can say a lot by not telling much, is also one of the reasons they want him there,” Ramjattan opined.