Jul 27, 2017
By Murtland Haley
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), following a General Members and Supporters meeting held last Sunday, has agreed that the party will continue to consult with Dr. Rupert Roopnarine on the ‘Ministerial Situation’. This issue concerns Roopnarine being the WPA representative in Cabinet and the National Assembly.
This was communicated to the press yesterday during a press conference held by the party.
The panellists were Chairwoman Tabitha Sarabo-Halley and Executive members, David Hinds and Tacuma Ogunseye.
Recently, Dr. Roopnarine had handed in his resignation to President David Granger; however, Roopnarine later withdrew his decision to resign after meeting the president on the issue.
When asked what were the areas discussed at the meeting on Sunday regarding Roopnarine and what reasons were given for the initial resignation, Hinds said that the WPA concurs with government, which announced that Roopnarine’s ill health was the reason.
“Our position on the Roopnarine situation is this: Dr. Roopnarine remains our first choice for representing in parliament and the government. We recognise that Dr. Roopnarine has to consult with his family, he has to consult with our party, and he has to consult with the president and the government, and I think he tendered his resignation and the President asked him to stay on and he has to weigh that very carefully.”
Hinds said that his party has taken the position that it defers to Dr. Roopnarine’s judgement as to whether he can continue to function in office.
The panel was reminded that the party had said recently, that two years ago it was not consulted on Roopnarine’s appointment in 2015. However, the air was cleared by Ogunseye who said that the party was never against Roopnarine being appointed to a ministerial position, but rather, was unhappy with the procedure that was employed.
“He (Roopnarine) was our candidate and we had expected him to have a governmental position, but we felt that the way in which it was done was not in keeping with what we expect coming from our relationship with APNU. So it was never a question of Roopnarine is not the right person, he was always the right person, but it is we who should formally make the appointment.”
Further, it was asked whether the party was briefed by Dr. Roopnarine concerning his resignation, and if not, whether he spoke with the party afterwards. According to the WPA Chairperson, Dr. Roopnarine did speak with her on the matter.
Hinds said that when Roopnarine met with President Granger he would have gone into the meeting knowing fully that the party has deferred all judgement to him on the matter.
Further, Hinds said that in light of Dr. Roopnarine’s health status, he will be assisted in carrying out his functions that come with his new post to head the Public Service Ministry and that the WPA will offer whatever support is needed.
Hinds also said that although the party was not vocal and observant of Dr. Roopnarine while serving as Minister of Education, the party will be doing the opposite from now on.