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Guyana's leader forms cabinet, seeks to boost energy sector

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 5:00 PMAP

Guyana's new president has appointed 27 ministers to his cabinet after his opposition coalition won the South American country's general election.

Retired army general David Granger awarded several ministries to the smaller Alliance for Change party but said late Friday he will keep the immigration, natural resources and energy sectors under his control because they are essential to Guyana's future.

The announcement comes just days after Exxon Mobil Corp. said it has found what it called a "significant" oil discovery off Guyana's coast. The company now is trying to determine the commercial viability of the find.

Granger, 69, said he also appointed a former police chief as special minister of citizenship to investigate allegations that government officials previously sold citizenships and passports to foreigners. He said authorities are aware that foreigners coming to Guyana have obtained citizenship easily.

"We want to ensure that citizenship remains a prize that is protected by the state," he said.

The new cabinet so far has six more ministers than the previous administration, and an additional appointment remains.

Granger, a retired army general was sworn in on May 16, ending a 23-year reign by the People's Progressive Party. His party has pledged to end racial divisions that long have marked politics in Guyana, a country of nearly 746,000 people who are mainly of Indian and African descent.