President to swear in new 10-member ERC today

first_imgSome seven years after the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) expired, President David Granger will be swearing in the 10 new members of the body today.The ceremony will be held at the State House.President David GrangerThis comes over a month after the National Assembly approved the appointment of the nominees from 10 stakeholder entities as members of the Commission.The new members to be appointed are: Pastor John Smith from the Christian community; Rajkumarie Singh from the Hindu community; Roshan Khan from the Muslim community; Norris Witter from the labour movement; Norman McLean, the Private Sector representative; Deodat Persaud for youth organisations; Ruth Howard for women’s organisations; Ashton Simon for Amerindian groups; Barrington Braithwaite for African groups and Neaz Suban for Indian groups.The Opposition had raised concerns with the length of time it took for persons to be appointed to the Commission.However, when the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Appointments was presented to the National Assembly for adoption and approval on January 19, Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton, told the National Assembly that while an earlier time would have been appropriate for such an important body, there were several hindrances to the process.He disclosed that the Committee held nine meetings, but difficulties were encountered with one of the bodies selecting a nominee. The Minister added too that while there could have been more consultations with citizens, persons were not as responsive even when the deadlines were extended.The ERC plays an integral role as a constitutional entity which serves to protect and preserve the interests of all stakeholders as far as creating an atmosphere of tolerance and harmony among the different races and ethnic groups in Guyana’s diverse society.The Commission initially comprised representatives from seven different constituencies, but in 2015 it was increased to 10.The ERC is a constitutional body established under the Herdmanston Accord. It works with persons and agencies to promote harmonious ethnic relations. The Commission also deals with complaints, promotes training in racial harmony, and fosters a sense of security, among all ethnic groups.The Commission had been virtually dysfunctional since 2011 when then Opposition Leader Robert Corbin had secured an injunction against the body, barring the Chairman and two Commissioners from taking any decision, recommendation or issuing any direction on behalf of the constitutional body.last_img read more

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