kn Jun 27, 2016 News

 – Ronald Gajraj was most favoured, says Greenidge

Instead of using a standardized system for payment, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge has alleged that the former regime paid Guyana’s Ambassadors according to favour.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge

Greenidge said in some cases payments were really low while others were extremely generous.
“So in other words, if you weren’t a favourite of the Party or you were not being assigned to a post that served their ‘special agenda’ then it was reflected in your payment,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that Guyana’s former Ambassador to India, Ronald Gajraj, was the most favoured by the PPP.
In 2005, Gajraj who served as Home Affairs Minister was forced to resign after local and international pressure came down on the Bharrat Jagdeo administration regarding allegations that the Minister had direct ties to the infamous death squad. He was assigned as Guyana’s High Commissioner to India.
“Gajraj was paid over US$8000 as part of his package while others were getting barely US$4000 or under that amount. Gajraj was also getting special treatment as he was receiving first class tickets for four and eight persons wherever he wanted. Also, the PPP regime had the Treasury bearing the cost of travel and accommodation of his spouse and children under the age of 30,” the Minister expressed.
The politician said that this practice has come to an end with the new administration in place and has assured that a better system for payment has been installed.
In the process of evaluating and strengthening the systems of his office, Greenidge said he also discovered that the PPP misused the systems and protocols governing Ambassadorial appointments.
Greenidge said, however, that this is an area that he is intent on bringing some structure to. He said that one of the first things he did was to replace most of the Ambassadors appointed during the PPP’s era as it was found that they were only given the position because of political favours and connections.  He cited the appointment of David Dabydeen as a prime example of this.
“When it comes to Dabydeen, who was our Ambassador to China, he was not retained by us because he was a political appointee. Additionally, he chose not to resign. When we took over, we told almost all of them that their contract was at an end and you are supposed to resign. In some instances, we gave them time to pack up and go …But Dabydeen did not listen. He refused to bow to protocol.”
Greenidge said that one of the Ambassadors who was retained from the PPP’s time was Bayney Karran. Karran is Guyana’s Ambassador to Washington.

Former Home Affairs Minister and Guyana’s Ambassador to India, Ronald Gajraj

“In Bayney’s case, he was retained because it was felt that he had been genuinely effective in his services. After he resigned, he expressed an interest in getting back his job as well. And on that basis we retained him. However in Dabydeen’s case, I can’t say much for his body of work,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.
Greenidge added, “And I really don’t know what he did over there to be honest. I suppose I was not interested in finding out the details because he was a political appointee and I made a public commitment not to renew the contracts of political appointees.”
Greenidge said that Ambassadors are supposed to submit monthly reports. However, he is unable to say if Dabydeen observed this monthly practice while he worked during the PPP time. His understanding is that Dabydeen communicated directly with the former Presidents for all high level matters on China. Greenidge said that this is also a breach of reporting protocol especially when one takes into consideration that there are no files on certain matters.
Greenidge said, too, that there is usually a review of the work of the Ambassadors which is normally done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said that this was rarely observed during the time of the past regime.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that most of the Ambassadors who were appointed under the PPP regime were essentially political appointees who basically reported to the office of the presidency and failed to observe in numerous instances, the relevant reporting protocols.
“Some of the former Ambassadors felt they had to report directly to the former Presidents. That created a problem for us here, because when you ask for certain information, the Ministry is unable to say how A or B has been arrived at. So reporting protocols were breached and it is something we are looking to change,” the Minister concluded.