Diabolical – Replacing non-medical members of Medical Council with “PNC people”

Diabolical – Replacing non-medical members of Medical Council with “PNC people”

first_imgSeveral weeks ago, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence replaced Kamal Ramkarran and Sylvia Conway as the non-medical members of the Guyana Medical Council (GMC) with James Bond and John Adams; two prominent People’s National Congress (PNC) members, making good her promise that only “PNC people” must get jobs and positions of influence.The Medical Council is made up of six medical doctors elected by their colleagues, the Chief Medical Officer (Ex-Officio) and two non-medical members named by the Health Minister, after consultations with civil society. The two non-medical members were provided for by an amendment of the original Medical Practitioners Act 1991. I navigated the amendment through Parliament when I was Health Minister. At the time, I made clear that the two non-medical members must be chosen after wide consultations and that those consultations must lead to the appointment of one woman to represent the interest of consumers, particularly women and girls, and a lawyer that would assist the Council in investigating and dealing with complaints of abuse and malpractice. It is a betrayal to now have no woman among the non-medical membership of the GMC.Surreptitiously, the Public Health Minister, several weeks ago, replaced the two long-serving non-medical members of the GMC with the new members. Sylvia Conway served on the Council because of her keen interest, her activism and advocacy for women and children’s rights. Kamal Ramkarran served as a lawyer in the Council. These persons served the Medical Council since I was Health Minister. From my own experience and from feedback I have had for more than a decade now, these Guyanese citizens served the Council with distinction. But Minister Lawrence, under the authority of the law, decided it was time for a change and named James Bond, a former PNC Member of Parliament; and John Adams, a present PNC Member of Parliament to replace them. I am not aware that any recommendation was made to replace Ramkarran and Conway and I am also unaware of any consultations that were conducted to name the new members. I am flabbergasted Minister Lawrence could not name a woman non-medical member for the Council.Were the long-serving non-medical members of the Medical Council changed just for the sake of change? Was there any recommendation from anyone that these members needed to be changed? Did the members themselves asked to be replaced? Changing them for change sake is not in the interest of Guyanese citizens. Worst, changing them simply to make place for the appointment of two PNC members is downright repugnant.Coming at a time when Minister Lawrence was forced to apologise for announcing at Congress Place that the Government must become more forceful in appointing only “PNC people” in jobs and in positions of influence in the country, appointments like this prove that her apology was only one of convenience; empty and meaningless. It means that jobs and positions on Boards and agencies are increasingly based on party cards, reminiscent of the PNC days between 1964 and 1992. Kamal Ramkarran and Sylvia Conway were not card-carrying PNC members and, therefore, had to be replaced by Bond and Adams, two prominent PNC members.We will see more of this in the coming weeks. A few months ago, another plan was hatched to replace Dr Oudho Homenauth as the CEO of NAREI (National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute). When Dr Chesney was appointed as the Chairman of the Board in June this year, the plan was to have him replace Dr Homenauth as the CEO. The Minister himself was hopeful that the Board will make the move to replace Dr Homenauth and save the Minister from dirtying his hands. Dr Chesney’s job was to conduct a witch-hunt to drive Dr Homenauth away. The Board rebelled and this nasty plan backfired to the extent that the Agriculture Minister had to ask Dr Chesney to vacate the position of Chairman of the NAREI Board. Dr Homenauth has survived an ugly plan, for now. But the unfortunate truth is that he does not have the card that could guarantee his job. He is not one of Minister Lawrence’s “PNC people”.We must stand up, in spite of the fear of this Government, stand up against the blatant discrimination practiced every day, stand up for the values of our country. Today, to their everlasting shame, rather than retreat from the obnoxious admission of Volda Lawrence that their priority and mission is to ensure jobs for PNC people, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change has become even more aggressive in implementing the old, reprehensible policy of only PNC card-carrying members for jobs. Let us lift our voices in rebellion.last_img

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