Embattled Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooporation, Henry Jeffery has softened his stance on his firing by Bharrat Jagdeo which surfaced through a Kaieteur News article. A transcript of a recent interview has been exclusively obtained by Guyana360 and published below.
Interview with Minister Jeffrey on Kaieteur newsarticle
What the Kaieteur said was that there was a disagreement at the cabinet last Tuesday. I wasn’t at the cabinet last Tuesday so there was obviously nodisagreement at the cabinet last Tuesday.
It is true that over the last I would say eight months, I have been discussing at the office of the president the possibility of my shifting position. I thought that I was around the ministerial thing a bit too long and I was identifying positions that I would like to shift to. None of them were diplomatic so to speak because it was never my intention to leave Guyana and for one reason or another sometimes the positions were taken and sometimes what they offered was not sufficient and things like that.
Now today we have COTED which would run into next week and again we would be talking about Guyana, about Caricom, Canada negotiations, we were talking about EPA and that sort of thing. So I had a discourse with the president again and out of that discourse it was reminded that I was making these requests and so on and by mutual consent he agreed that now that they are moving around diplomats that there is a possibility for me to go to Suriname cause it’s close to home and for personal reasons I do not wish to go far.
He agreed and offered it and I said ‘great let me think about it’ so I thought about it and yesterday I said to the president that I would accept that position pending of course our negotiating conditions and that’s where we are at.
Question: So it has nothing to do with this report?
I wasn’t at the cabinet for a start and it is true that myself and the president we have a bit of a different view on the EPA but that’s not the first issue this has happened to. I mean it’s my job as a minister, its said in the constitution, to be an advisor to the government; I advise and its for the government and the cabinet to take that advise or not and this would not be the first time that we have had a difference of opinion and I would assume that should be expected if you are going to discuss issues.
Question: Did you by chance, seek to get an explanation from the particular newspaper?
Not really, I suppose I made it clear to them today, they were here, prior to your coming here and I put it on to them that I couldn’t have had a disagreement at cabinet because I wasn’t there so an explanation is not forth coming. I think that what has happened there was that there was a lot of speculation, people are talking and you know what that leads to. That why I am holding the discourse to allow people to have whatever discourse they want because if you leave it hanging people speculate and when they speculate, that’s what you get
Question: So these reports are wrong?
It’s not wrong that I have been offered something in Suriname, its not wrong to say that I have accepted it, that is correct I think the paper also did say that there was talk about this for some time and indeed as I pointed out to you I have been having this discourse with people for the longest while, at least I would say seven months
Question: But it’s wrong to say that you were axed?
Well, not being axed from the cabinet as such, I will leave the cabinet by mutual consent, that’s what’s happening, the president something, he didn’t say Jeffrey you were sacked or any such thing. He knew of my overtime or what I have been trying to get to do something else and I took it so whether on not you want to. I am not going to be in the cabinet of Guyana from let’s say next year, whether or not you want to consider that axed.
Question: I would like you to just offer a comment on the whole issue of responsible journalism based on what came out of the newspaper.
As I said before, I am not a journalist but I believe that journalist seek out information, they have people who they believe are their sources who give them information and they attempt to piece those things together sometimes they piece them together wrong. I suppose they could have asked me and I would say that I wasn’t there but that’s the life of journalists. I suppose you have to be more careful in trying to crosscheck your sources.
Question: If successful, your post in the diplomatic arena, what would be your priority objectives?
I don’t know as yet, I have not checked it out, I have edited some books on Suriname, sustainable development of Suriname, we use to have conferences on the Guianas. I have never really understood why two small countries like ours quarrel about all these resources which I am sure our population together is just over a million and I am certain that if we can get together and work we would all get rich with the resources that’s there on both sides.