Gridlock over nominee for the NRF Board of Directors

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…Gov’t proposes Barrow, Sealey, Case; Opposition wants position for the nominees to be advertised

The Government Members of Parliament sitting on the Parliamentary Committee of Appointments have proposed three nominees, from among which one would be nominated to sit on the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Board of Directors but the Opposition Parliamentarians are demanding that the position be publicly advertised before a name is put forward to the National Assembly.

According to Section 5 (1) of the National Resource Fund Act, the NRF’s Board of Directors shall comprise not less than three and not more than five members who shall be appointed by the President, one of whom shall be appointed Chairperson by the President.

Section 5 (2) adds: “The Directors shall be selected from among persons who have wide experience and ability in legal, financial, business or administrative matters, one of whom shall be nominated by the National Assembly and one of whom shall be a representative of the Private Sector.”

In January, the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh successfully tabled a motion for the Parliamentary Committee of Appointments to select nominees to sit on the NRF’s Board of Directors and the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee.

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That Parliamentary Committee of Appointments, which comprises of five Government MPs – Gail Teixeira, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, Kwame McKoy, Alister Charlie and Yvonne Person – and four Opposition MPs – Khemraj Ramjattan, Dr. Nicolette Henry, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley and Annette Ferguson – met on Tuesday (February 22) to discuss possible nominees.

According to a source close to the process, it was then that the Government MPs sitting on the Committee of Appointments proposed three names – Businessman and former PNC Parliamentarian, Dunstan Barrow; former Deputy Commissioner General at the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Clement Sealey and Guyana’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Hamley Case – for consideration.

However, the Opposition MPs reportedly indicated that before nominees are considered for a possible submission to the National Assembly, the position should be publicly advertised with clear criteria before a selection is made.

But the Government MPs have reportedly rejected the proposition, and have advised that the Opposition submits three nominees for consideration.

The NRF Legislation, which was rammed through the National Assembly last December amid much chaos and confusion as the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) fiercely objected to its passage, provides no clear criteria for those of whom will sit on the Board of Directors other than they must have “wide experience and ability in legal, financial, business or administrative matters.”

According to Section 5 (5), the Board of Directors, when appointed, will be responsible for the overall management of the NRF; reviewing and approving the policies of the Fund; monitoring its performance; ensuring compliance with the approved policies of the Fund, exercising general oversight of all aspects of the operations of the Fund and ensuring that it is managed in compliance with the NRF Act and other applicable laws.

According to the legislation, the Board reports directly to the Minister with responsibility for Finance, and receive policy directives from him in accordance with the Act.

The National Resource Fund Act also provides for the establishment of a Public Accountability and Oversight Committee which shall comprise the nine members appointed by the President, one of whom shall be nominated by the National Assembly, three representatives of the religious community, two representatives of the private sector, two representatives of organized labour, and one representative of the professions.

The chairman will be appointed by the President.



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