Top AFC official frowns on PM instruction to withdraw Chronicle GM dismissal

A senior official in the leadership of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Wednesday night poured cold water on Prime Minister Nagamootoo’s instruction to the Guyana Chronicle’s Board of Directors to withdraw its decision to sack Sherod Duncan from the post of General Manager over alleged financial mismanagement.

The official told Demerara Waves Online News on condition of anonymity that Duncan’s actions did not warrant dismissal because he did not steal or defraud the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, publishers of the Chronicle newspapers, of any monies.

“I thought that a reprimand or suspension should have sufficed, but not dismissal,” the long-serving AFC executive member said.

The official, who first learnt of the decision while in Cabinet on Tuesday, seemed concerned that the Prime Minister did not engage the seven-member Board “much earlier and asked for the decision to be justified” instead of instructing the board two months later to pull back the termination of Duncan’s employment.

“Sending a “command” now will naturally raise eyebrows and questions,” the high-level AFC official said, adding that “had I been briefed before, would have advised against this.”

Three board members—Geeta Chandan-Edmond, Hilbert Foster and Mervyn Williams—have since resigned in protest and refuted the Prime Minister’s claim that no vote had been taken on Duncan’s fate but instead asking board members’ views. Chandan-Edmond has said the board’s minutes prove that the Prime Minister’s virtual hearsay account is not factual.

Duncan, who is the AFC’s Region 4 Chairman, is regarded as somewhat of a power-player in the run-up to his party’s National Conference which would decide the fate of Nagamootoo as prime minister should the coalition win the next general elections.