National Assembly nominates Dunstan Barrow as Director on NRF Board

The National Assembly on Wednesday nominated former PNC/R Member of Parliament (MP) Dunstan Barrow for the position of Director on the Board of Directors of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF).
The position of Director is provided for in the NRF Act 2021, which became law in December, 2021.

Dunstan Barrow

The motion which was passed in the Assembly was moved by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, who is also the Chairperson of the Committee of Appointments.
Last month, the Parliamentary Committee of Appointments approved the nomination of Dunstan Barrow as a Director to sit on the NRF Board, which will have oversight of Guyana’s oil revenues.
Barrow was nominated by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government. However, his nomination did not attract the approval of the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Opposition.
It was reported that there were initially 10 nominees – three from the Government and seven from the Opposition.
The Government’s nominees were Barrow, former Guyana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Non-Resident Ambassador to France and Russia, Hamley Case; and former Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Clement Sealey.
Among the Opposition nominees were Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram and former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Vincent Adams.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira

Reports are that the coalition members were upset that Government would use its one-seat majority in the National Assembly to eventually have its nominee selected. However, President Irfaan Ali recently told reporters that the parliamentary process provides for the Committee of Appointments to select someone of public standing in society to serve as Director on the Board.
“Let’s focus for one moment on the three names that were submitted, that tells you how much interest we want in ‘One Guyana’; not PPP names, three citizens of this country. When we talk about ‘One Guyana’, you need to have integrity,” the Head of State noted.
While stating that he has no issue with the Opposition nominees, President Ali contended that the parliamentary process must be respected. Moreover, he pointed out the duplicity of the APNU/AFC coalition, which had rejected Ram’s nomination for the Chairmanship of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), but is now supporting his nomination for the NRF Board.
Meanwhile, in addition to Barrow’s nomination for the NRF Board, the Committee of Appointments also went ahead and approved the Government’s nomination of Clement Sealey to sit on the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee under the NRF Act.
Once the nomination is approved by the House, his name will be sent to the President.
The three-to-five-member NRF Board is expected to be made up of mostly civil society representatives, with one nominee from the Private Sector and one from Parliament. The other members are to be appointed by the President.
President Ali had previously made it clear that he would select individuals with the utmost integrity to sit on the Board.
Section 5 (2) of the NRF Act provides that the Directors shall be selected from among persons who have wide experience and ability in legal, financial, business or administrative matters, but no member of the National Assembly is eligible.
The NRF Act was passed in the National Assembly in December amid chaos caused by the APNU/AFC Opposition, who disrupted the proceedings after the Bill was brought up for debate.
The Bill, which has since been assented to by President Ali, outlines that the Directors will hold the post for not more than two years, with eligibility for reappointment; and all appointments, as well as changes in appointments, are to be gazetted and published on the Ministry’s website and in two daily newspapers.