President Says the Statement Does Not Reflect the Policy of the Government
GEORGETOWN, GUYANA — President David Granger has distanced himself from the use of a racial slur by his Press Officer.
The purported racial comment was used in a private Facebook conversation that the Press Officer, Lloyda Nicholas-Garrett, was having with her friends. Parts of the conversation have been leaked.
A screenshot of the private conversation was made public earlier this week, according to a News Source online report.
Another section of the Guyanese media reported Garrett as saying in the conversation, “I got people in my office so I cannot listen to Les (Leslyn Bobbsemple) vn (voice note) yet. Well she was in here making sure to try to turn my staff against me. She don’t know these coolie. They still friendsing she while kissing my a**.”
President Granger said the words used by Nicholas-Garrett do not represent any policy of the government.
“It is not the policy of the Ministry of the Presidency and it is certainly not my policy,” he was reported as saying by newssourcegy.com.
The President went one step further to defend his press secretary by stating that, “I believe it was not something that represented her personal philosophy or the philosophy of the government.”
Granger, according to News Source, said he has examined the information related to the leaked conversation between Nicholas-Garrett and her friends and also discussed it with other staff members.
An investigation is currently being conducted and the President has promised to make the findings public once that investigation is completed.
Sources at the Ministry of the Presidency have revealed to News Source that moments after the private conversation was made public, Garrett called a meeting with her staffers who might be offended and apologised for the use of the word.
Granger on Thursday refused to comment on whether Garret remains on the job. It is unclear whether she will accompany the Guyana delegation to next week’s UN General Assembly in New York, News Source said.
Meanwhile, according to a Stabroek News report, opposition Member of Parliament Nigel Dharamlall has called for the firing of Garrett for using a racially derogatory term to describe staff at the Ministry of the Presidency.
Dharamlall, who himself has in recent months accused of making several public statements which were derogatory and racist in tone, shared on his Facebook page screenshots of the conversation between Nicholas-Garrett and her friends.
Dharamlall accused her of using “highly racial and very derogatory terms in conversations with her friends as they describe their fellow Office of the President colleagues,” whom he believes Indo-Guyanese.
He followed this description with a “call for the immediate termination of the services of the Racist Staffer and a period of race relations rehabilitation for her.”
According to Dharamlall, his “taxes are not to be used to pay anyone who is racist.”
Stabroek News said it reached out to Nicholas-Garrett but her phone was turned off and her Facebook page has been removed.
President David Granger and his senior press officer, Lloyda Nicholas-Garrett (News Room online photo)