No militarisation of country – Granger

first_img…say’s he had no role in appointmentsPresident David Granger has denied claims that the recent flurry of former army officers being appointed to top posts in the state apparatus since his Government took office has a sinister motive behind it.Speaking on this week’s edition of ‘The Public Interest’ programme, which was recorded on Thursday, the Head of State said the country is not being militarised,President David Grangerbut is still very much civil.“We’re still civil. Have you seen me in uniform over the last five years? No. So the country is not being militarised, and the mere appointment of persons who had military experience is not a sign of militarisation.”Granger then drew a correlation with the claims of militarisation and his cabinet being dominated by attorneys-at-law, saying that the argument cannot be made that he is “legalising the cabinet.”The Coalition Government has come in for much criticism, especially from the Opposition, for appointing military personnel, whether serving or retired, to several state positions.Only recently, former army Chief Brigadier George Lewis was appointed as deputy CEO of the GPHC, and is now acting CEO after the recent axing of former CEO Allan Johnson. Meanwhile, Lt. Colonel (ret’d) Lelon Saul is heading the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).Referring to these two cases, President Granger noted that he had no say in these appointments. In fact, he went on to outline that it was the PPP/C regime that started the practice of recruiting former military officers in the Public Sector.“The practise of recruiting former military officers wasn’t initiated by the APNURear Admiral (Ret’d) Gary BestAdministration. Major General Joe Singh and Major General (Michael) Atherly were there before I got in. Colonel Ramsarup was at CDC.”Major General Atherly, who was appointed to head the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA), is also the acting head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), after the recent firing of long-time head, James Singh.Moreover, Granger noted that his administration continued the practice since many of these army officers were qualified.The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has always expressed reservations about the appointment of former military personnel to key positions in the state.Since the coalition Government came to office in May 2015, several retired Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officers have been appointed to key advisory positions within the Government. These include Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Gary Best and Brigadier (Ret’d) Edward Collins, both former Chiefs of Staff of the GDF.Collins has been appointed Presidential Advisor on National Security, while BestLieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Lelon Saulhas been appointed Presidential Advisor on the Environment. Additionally, a number of soldiers have been seconded to work in the Defence Secretariat at the Ministry of the Presidency.Last year, the Ministry of the Presidency had announced that Colonel Nazrul Hussain would head the Department of National Events, after a series of arrangements for Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary had been bungled. Army officers have also been appointed to a number of State Boards and other civilian positions. And Granger’s Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, is a retired army colonel. The PPP’s concerns were amplified after two army officers were appointed to head Commissions of Inquiry. Retired Brigadier Bruce Lovell had been appointed to conduct a CoI into allegations of corruptions at CANU, and retired Colonel Windee Algernon had been appointed to conduct a CoI into a deadly fire at the Children’s Drop-in Centre.last_img read more