Dr Karen Cummings appointed as new Foreign Affairs Minister

first_imgJunior Health Minister, Dr Karen Cummings, has been named Guyana’s new Foreign Affairs Minister and was among the four new Ministers who were sworn-in by President David Granger as members to his Cabinet on Thursday.Speaking with reporters after taking her Oath of Office, Minister Cummings said she was surprised when she was offered the post but is up for the challenge.“I know it’s a lot of hard work but I’m prepared for the tasks and I hope to serve in this new office with distinction.”Dr Cummings was appointed Junior Health Minister back in 2015 and noted that she is satisfied with the work she has done for almost four years.“I’ve (been) able to see some achievements in terms of Non-Communicable Diseases – we’ve had a NCD Commission set up, we’ve passed the tobacco law… and in terms of vaccination coverage and universal healthcare, we’ve made strong strides in these and making every effort to deliver effective and efficient health care to the populace of Guyana,” she noted.The newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister is expected to begin work in her new position today with a meeting at the Ministry. Dr Cummings said she is looking forward to working with her predecessor, Carl Greenidge, and is hoping that he takes her under his wing.“I hope to see him (at the meeting) because I still think he can be my coach. It’s a new area and I look forward to working with him,” Dr Cummings added.According to the Head of State, Minister Cummings was the fittest replacement for former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, who was forced to resign as a result of his dual citizenship status.“The country could not be without a Foreign Minister and I felt, in my considered judgement, that she was the fittest person for that portfolio. That was the deciding factor (for her appointment),” the President told reporters following the swearing-in ceremony.Dr Cummings took the Oath of Office along with new Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams; Business Minister Haimraj Rajkumar; and new Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley.New MinistersAdditionally, Junior Ministers Annette Ferguson and Simona Charles-Broomes received Instruments of Appointments for their new posts after they were transferred from the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Natural Resources, respectively. Minister Ferguson was appointed Housing Minister within the Communities Ministry, while Minister Broomes is now in charge of Youth Affairs within the Ministry of the Presidency.Moreover, Minister Valerie Patterson-Yearwood, who was also reassigned as Minister of Rural Affairs within the Agriculture Ministry was absent from Thursday’s ceremony.Nevertheless, President Granger noted that these new appointments will ensure smoother functioning of Government.The Head of State went on to say that the “Oath of Office” is not a ceremonial ritual but represents a solemn promise and creates three principal obligations; first, to swear true faith and allegiance to the people; second, to execute the duties of his or her office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and, third, in so doing, to honour, uphold and preserve the Constitution.“These three obligations are sacred. I expect that those who have taken the “Oath of Office” (Thursday) morning, will fulfil their obligations at all times. I have a duty to ensure that the Government acts in accordance with the Constitution. Four Ministers resigned their seats in the National Assembly and their portfolios in the Cabinet with effect from 25th April in order to comply with the Constitution. Their resignations have necessitated a rebalancing of the Executive,” he stated.The reshuffling of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Cabinet came on the heels of recent rulings in the local courts that it is illegal for persons with dual citizenship to be elected to sit in the National Assembly.As a result of this ruling, which was first handed down by acting Chief Justice Roxane George in January and then upheld by the Appeal Court in March, former Minister of State Joseph Harmon; former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge; former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin and former Public Service, Minister Dr Rupert Roonaraine were forced to resigned.It was previously indicated that all these Ministers, with the exception of Gaskin, will be renouncing their second citizenship. Gaskin is a born Briton and according to the courts, by renewing his British passport he is pledging allegiance to another state.last_img read more