Oath of Office
The Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana [at Article 103.2] empowers the President to appoint ministers “…from among persons who are elected members of the National Assembly…or are qualified to be elected as such members.” The Constitution [at Article 114] mandates, also, that every Minister shall subscribe to an oath of office “…before entering upon the duties of his or her office, make and subscribe the oath of office.”
The “Oath of Office” is not ceremonial ritual. It 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.
We learn from the Constitution instructs that sovereignty resides in the people.
- The minister, first, by swearing “…true faith and allegiance to the people”, acknowledges the source of sovereignty – the people – and pledges loyalty to them in the exercise of that sovereignty.
- The minister, second, by swearing to execute his office “…without fear or favour, affection or ill-will” commits to ensuring that his conduct will be free of the vices of malice and partiality and will be motivated by the pursuit of the common good.
- The minister, third, by swearing “…to honour, uphold and preserve the Constitution” binds himself to respect and comply with the Constitution.
These three obligations are sacred. I expect that those who have taken the “Oath of Office” this 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.
The Constitution [at Article 106.1] establishes a Cabinet consisting of the President, Prime Minister, Vice-presidents and such other ministers” as I may appoint. I was pleased therefore, to issue instruments of Ministerial appointments to the Cabinet in this regard, to:
- the Honourable Dr. Karen Cummings, as Minister of Foreign Affairs;
- the Honourable Mr. Haimraj Rajkumar, as Minister of Business;
- the Honourable Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams as Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency; and
- the Honourable Mrs. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, as Minister of the Public Service in the Ministry of the Presidency; so they will be joining us in Cabinet.
Non-cabinet ministers, Mrs. Simona Charles-Broomes, Ms. Annette Ferguson and Mrs. Valerie Patterson-Yearwood will be going to new ministries.
- Mrs. Simona Charles-Broomes will be coming to the Ministry of the Presidency to assume responsibility for youth affairs, not as part of the Department of Social Cohesion, Youth and Sport, but as part of the Ministry of the Presidency proper.
- The Honourable Ms. Annette Ferguson will be transferred to the Ministry of Communities from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and will have responsibility for Housing Development; and
- And the Honourable Mrs. Valerie Patterson-Yearwood will be transferred from the Ministry of Communities to the Ministry of Agriculture, to assume responsibility for Rural Affairs.
I congratulate the new members of Cabinet and Government and the newly reassigned Ministers, and I urge them all to obey, faithfully, their “Oath of Office.”
The Guyanese nation can be assured and can continue to look forward to the smooth functioning of their Government as a result of these changes.
I thank you.