Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh yesterday refused to apologize to the Senate for the contents of a letter written to that body by his Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Dr. James Kollie.He said he did not violate any portion of the Constitution when his ministry informed the lawmakers of decisions it needed to take to help the downturn in the economy. Minister Konneh, who appeared before Plenary of the Senate along with Deputy Kollie, apologized for the wordings in paragraph four of his letter dated January 21, and not the context of the letter.The paragraph in question reads: “Due to the urgency to complete processing allotments for the quarter, we request a prompt response with information on how the adjustment should be distributed in your budget. Notwithstanding, if you do not respond with regard to said distribution by 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 27th, we will use our discretion to reallocate the amount appropriately and proceed with the processing of allotment the remainder of the 3rd quarter. “But during the single item hearing yesterday, Minister Konneh remained resolute against offering an apology, saying that except for the portion of the letter he agreed was not appropriate for the lawmakers, everything else mentioned were in line with both the Public Finance Management Law, crafted by the Senate, and the Constitution. Besides Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper who went into a lengthy grilling of the Minister, other Senators attempted to steer the Minister to apologize and even quoted some provisions of the Constitution.Minister Konneh refused to yield and maintained that he did not violate any part of the Constitution. “I cannot apologize for something that I did not do,” he stated. The Senators’ contention with the letter is that the Minister, who from the onset of the hearing told the Senators that he was taking full responsibility for the letter, thus saving his deputy from the expected wrath of the lawmakers, had indeed violated the Constitution by apportioning to himself the responsibility that is solely theirs – appropriation of the budget. Minister Konneh, however, argued that such was not the case, and told the Senators that what was contained in the letter was a proposal.In their unanimous vote on a motion by Senator Nyonblee Lawrence, the Senators, however, agreed that Minister Konneh must appear on Thursday, February 4, along with his lawyer, to face a legislative contempt hearing. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The University of Guyana has received its first major philanthropic grant — from a private family — by way of a gift of land that would facilitate the erection of a permanent bursary.The property which was given to the University by Rajdai Elizabeth Outar is located in Berbice, and is expected to be developed or liquidated into funds which would then be invested within two years of the conveyance of the property to the University of Guyana. Thirty per cent of the money received would be used in perpetuity to fund the bursary on an annual basis.The bursary, which will be titled the ‘Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary’, was designed to support tuition, living expenses, and books for outstanding students from Port Mourant, Berbice and surrounding areas who are unable to afford their education at the University. The bursary is open to any discipline.Rajdai Elizabeth Outar and her late husband, Seobarran James Outar, both Berbicians, placed great value on education. The Outars left Guyana in the late 1970s for educational opportunities in the United States, and thus they have always hoped to give back to their homeland for the foundation they received in Guyana.Following her husband’s passing in June 2014, Mrs Outar decided to gift a parcel of land and other remaining assets in Guyana to the University to establish the bursary.In a statement, Mrs Outar said, “Education is the cornerstone of life, and higher education provides an opportunity to create leaders, advance knowledge, and to improve society. My family and I hope that our gift will not only benefit worthy students, but that it also will inspire other expatriate Guyanese to support talent development at a critical time in our nation’s history.”Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Prof. Ivelaw Griffith, expressed his gratitude for the gift and emphasized the need for private support to complement Government funding.“Mrs Outar’s gift provides an opportunity for the most talented students to have access to a world-class education, regardless of their ability to pay.We hope that her generosity will serve as an example for others to follow. Gifts like Mrs Outar’s have an impact not only on the recipient, but also their families, their community, and society at large,” he said.Deputy Vice Chancellor (PACE) Paloma Mohamed also expressed sincere appreciation to Mrs Outar and her family, as well as to former DVC Elizabeth Ramlall, Christine Chowgrir, and University Registrar Dr Nigel Gravesande, who worked for several months to realise the project.The Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary is expected to be administered through the University’s Student Support Fund mechanism. Application materials, awards committee composition, and the decision rubric for the award of the Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary also will be available on the University of Guyana’s website, once the funds become available.