Private sector divided over UG councillor’s appointment
Guyana’s two major private sector bodies, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), are now going after each other following the appointment of Ms Allison Butters-Grant as the business representative on the University of Guyana Council.
The Private Sector Commission, on Friday last, issued a statement expressing disappointment and dissatisfaction with the appointment of the business
representative on the Council of the University of Guyana. The PSC claimed receiving correspondence from the Education Ministry’s Permanent Secretary requesting a nominee to serve on the Council of the University of Guyana, and in response nominated the head of the Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry, Samuel Goolsarran, to sit on the new council.
However, the PSC’s nominee was not so placed, the Education Ministry instead appointing Ms Butters-Grant as the business representative. The PSC is accordingly calling for this to be rectified forthwith.
In response to this development, the GCCI on Monday said it wishes to publicly support the appointment of Ms Butters-Grant.
“The GCCI has taken note of recent negative press regarding the appointment of
Ms Butters-Grant to the University of Guyana Council. Ms Butters-Grant is the immediate past secretary of the Chamber, and has laboured for the chamber in this capacity, as well as (being) a past Councillor. She has served the Chamber in a positive way, and has distinguished herself as a member of the Chamber. As such, we have full confidence in her ability to discharge the duties of a Councillor of the University of Guyana,” the GCCI said in a statement.
The University of Guyana Act 1963, Section 13, subsection 2 (j) speaks to ‘four (4) persons to be nominated by such non-governmental organisations as in the opinion of the Minister are most representative of the interests of Women, Farmers, Amerindians and Business. The GCCI said it was based on the current law that Education Minister Nicolette Henry saw Butters-Grant as fit to serve, and appointed her as the business community’s representative.
“Hence the statement emanating from the Private Sector Commission (PSC) was unwarranted,” the GCCI statement concluded.
Following that statement, the PSC issued another statement on Monday, saying it has since written Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, asking that the exclusion of its nominee be corrected.
The PSC also expressed its concern publicly in a press release issued on March 9, 2018. The press release raised no objection to the nomination of any person on
the Council, but emphasised disappointment that the PSC nominee had not been considered. It pointed out that this has been custom and practice over the last twenty-five years, and it is important that the business community’s voice be represented on the Council, as is required by the Constitution of the University. “The PSC stands by that position,” the statement read.
The PSC additionally said it is unfortunate and regrettable that its statement was interpreted as an objection to any person on the University’s Council.