The 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Wednesday, Feb 20 announced that has rescinded the appointment of Canada based Guyanese development specialist, Dr. Naresh Singh as Deputy Secretary General.
Singh admitted that he had failed to get the green-light for a number of United Nations consultancies while he had been employed with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
But Singh maintained that he has done nothing wrong that warranted such a move and he would leave the region to judge whether his failure to obtain clearances for two or three consultancies of less than one week each with the United Nations (UN) was enough to deprive him from serving in the number two spot.
“It is now up to the people, the media and the governments of the Caribbean to judge whether my track record of excellence over decades of world class leadership work has been so compromised now to prevent me from bring fit to serve,” Singh told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) in an emailed reaction. He has previously described as “mystifying” allegations of conflict of interest, while acknowledging that he had received a small number of isolated emails and conference calls during business hours which were inappropriate.
Caricom, in announcing its decision to “repudiate” Singh’s appointment, said that after he was proposed by Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin La Rocque and checks made, new information surfaced.
“Subsequent to the offer and Dr. Singh’s acceptance of that offer, information came to light regarding certain allegations against Dr. Singh which had been the subject of a confidential investigation by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, which is an independent Agency of the Parliament of Canada.
The allegations and the findings of that statutory body of inquiry are of grave concern to the Caribbean Community and the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General has taken the necessary action to repudiate the offer,” Caricom said in a statement.
Top Guyana government officials earlier Wednesday said Singh’s fate was discussed in caucus at the just concluded mid-term summit of CARICOM leaders in Haiti.
Concerns were also raised in some quarters that Singh had apparently sought to preempt Caricom’s decision one way or another by informing the media that he had been appointed in an initial reaction to the allegations.
He was expected to replace Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, a Barbadian, whose tenure came to an end after several years at the regional headquarters.
Written by Demerara Waves