No “criminal” liability – Granger

first_imgPharmagate… rather administrative errorsIn light of mounting calls for the Government to sanction Public Health Minister Dr George Norton over the highly controversial $12.5 million Sussex Street, Georgetown ‘drug-bond’ deal, President David Granger has pointed out that the issue is merely an “administrative error” and did not warrant any criminal liability.Speaking on the weekly television programme – The Public Interest – the Head of State explained that at the time, pharmaceuticals were brought due to the high demands from hospitals across the country. He noted that after unfavourable proposals from the existing facility, the Public Health Minister opted to rent a facility that was in the city so that there can be easy access to the drugs for distribution.“Those would have been mitigations for the action that was taken… So there was no criminality, it was a question of trying to get the job done and errors were made. But the Minister apologised and we have corrected those errors. As far as I’m concerned, we have now put in place a system which will prevent a reoccurrence,” the President stated.According to the Head of State Bond, following an investigation Cabinet has considered recommendations made and has determined that henceforth, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure will oversee the rental of facilities for its sister-ministries.“We learnt now that the subject ministry is not necessarily the best judge of the suitably of a particular premise or facility to be rented, and we have now moved that responsibility under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure,” the President declared.Moreover, it was pointed out to President Granger during the television programme that in its 15 months in office, his administration has experience some incidents that has basically damaged its “brand”. The reporters explained that there have been calls on numerous occasions for Cabinet members to be disciplined and/or removed from office, as in the case of Dr Norton.However, the Head of State posited that there will be no reshuffling of his Cabinet. He stated that the changes made at the beginning of 2016 are designed to be improve Cabinet’s performance, that is, the creation of the Ministry Public Telecommunications and moving Tourism under the portfolio of the Business Ministry.Nevertheless, Granger admitted that there have some “errors” made by members of his Cabinet but he was quite to highlight that those were not as a result of criminal acts. He noted that within the 15 months in office, there have been human errors, administrative errors and errors stemming from situations that were inherited from the previous administration.“Yes we accepted that there have been errors but those errors are not really as a result of criminality, they’ve been administrative errors and they have been corrected. Every government makes errors but we want to make sure that we are free and fair,” he stated.Furthermore, President Granger noted that whenever something happens involving a Cabinet Member that is damaging to government, then an investigation is launched.“Whenever necessary, we have asked ministers to explain and give reasons for their conduct and those matters are dealt with at Cabinet level,” he remarked. (Vahnu Manickchand)last_img read more