The Government has used its majority on the Parliamentary Committee of Appointments to push through its nominee for the Natural Resource Fund Board, Dunstan Barrow while ignoring the two nominees put forward by the Opposition.
The APNU+AFC Opposition coalition today nominated Chartered Accountant and Attorney Christopher Ram and former Head of the Environmental Protection Committee Vincent Adams to be considered for the position of Director on the Board of the Natural Resource Fund.
The Government side nominated former Guymine CEO Dunstan Barrow for the same position. Mr. Barrow is also a former PNC Member of Parliament who has been away from active politics for over two decades.
Under the Natural Resource Fund Act, the National Assembly is allowed to put forward one person to sit as a Director on the Board which will overlook the spending of the country’s oil wealth. The other Board members will be selected by the President.
The Opposition Members on the Committee of Appointments walked out of the meeting this afternoon as it became clear to them that the Opposition’s nominees were going to be ignored and the Government would use its majority on the Committee to ensure its nominee is the person who will be put forward for the position.
One Opposition official with knowledge of today’s meeting of the Committee of Appointments said the Government has shown that it has no interest in transparency and inclusivity since it has blocked the Opposition nominees for the seat on the NRF board.
The official said the Government side had no interest in even giving a fair hearing or consideration of the Opposition nominees.
News Source understands that once the Opposition walked out of the meeting after the Government made known its preference, the Government went ahead and sealed the deal by voting for its own nominee. The nominee’s name will now be sent to the National Assembly for final consideration.
With the Government holding the majority in the Assembly, its nominee is expected to be given the all-clear and sent to the President for appointment to the Board along with the President’s own nominees.
The Opposition had initially indicated that it was not going to participate in the process as it maintains that the Bill which has since been signed into law and has created the Natural Resource Fund Act was not properly passed. There has been no move to the Court to challenge the passage and the Opposition decided to submit nominees.
The Alliance Force Change was the first to put forward a nomination. It was the AFC that nominated Vincent Adams. The nomination of Christopher Ram for the position came from the PNC Reform which is the largest party in the APNU+AFC Coalition.
The Opposition has expressed concern about transparency in overlooking the spending of the oil funds by a Board that was fully put together by the Government. The President has indicated that he will be fair in his choices for the NRF Board membership.