Head of the National Environmental Agency Quits after Internal Disagreement

The Head of Georgia’s National Environmental Agency, Tamar Bagratia has resigned. She says the reason she quit her post was a disagreement with the leadership of Georgia’s Environment Protection and Agriculture Ministry.

The Head of Georgia’s National Environmental Agency claims she was the victim of psychological pressure from the Deputy Environment Protection and Agriculture Minister.

Bagratia explains that she was not planning on resigning, but the Deputy Environment Protection and Agriculture Minister, Nino Tandilashvili, within the frames of the reorganization, urged her to appoint a concrete person to the post of the First Deputy Head of Georgia’s National Environmental Agency. Bagratia did not consider this person eligible for the position and noted that it would have been wrong for her to directly appoint a certain person to such a high-rank position, as a competition had already been announced.

“I think that persons in such positions should be selected through competition and I had to write a request to resign to avoid further complications,” the former Head of the National Environmental Agency stated.

Bagratia added that after she quit, the pressure continued on her deputy Ramaz Gerliani, who also wrote a resignation letter to avoid fulfillment of the instructions of the Deputy Environment Minister.

The former Head of the Environmental Agency claims she has saved messages from Tandilashvili which prove that the Deputy Minister was putting pressure on her.

Following the resignation of Bagratia and her deputy, Georgia’s National Environmental Agency is now left without leadership.

Georgian media reports that Tandilashvili denies Bagratia’s allegations but has yet to make an official statement.

The Chair of Georgian Parliament’s Committee on Environment Protection and Natural Resources, Kakha Kuchava, says he learned about Bagratia’s resignation only recently and is not aware enough of the case details to comment.

“We should wait for the explanations from the Deputy Environment Minister and only after this make comments on the issue,” Kuchava said, adding that the Committee had a very fruitful and constructive relationship with Bagratia.

Tamar Bagratia was working on the position of the Head Georgia’s National Environmental Agency for three years.

GEORGIA TODAY contacted Ms Bagratia for an exclusive comment.

“Deputy Minister Nino Tandilashvili was exerting psychological pressure on me, urging me to appoint a certain person as my Deputy,” she told us. “She didn’t specify what the consequences would be if I didn’t fulfill her request, but I have kept our entire text conversation. I decided to resign after careful consideration of the stressful circumstances. I haven’t decided if I will take this further, legally. Let’s see how the situation develops.”

The National Environmental Agency is a legal entity of the public law under the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture Georgia, which was set up as an Agency on June 31 of 2008.

The Agency is impartial from the public governance bodies, implementing its activities independently, but subject to control from the State.

Thea Morrison

15 March 2018 18:42