His Majesty The King conferred Dakyen to Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel and the Cabinet ministers yesterday.
His Majesty The King also granted them an audience.
Following the grant of Kasho, the Prime Minister, Speaker and Cabinet ministers were sworn into an Oath/Affirmation of Secrecy in the presence of Venerable Yonten Lopen by the Chief Justice in the Lhengye Zhungtshog Hall in Trashichhodzong.
The Cabinet ministers then attended the inaugural ceremony of the first session of the Lhengye Zhungtshog.
After the offering of Gyalpoi Zhabten and Tashi Moenlam, the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers signed an Order of Assumption of Office in their respective offices where the Khadhar ceremony began for all the people.
Meanwhile, amidst the busy schedule, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering met with the Bhutanese media in the evening.
He started the press conference at the Prime Minister’s office, stating it is an unconventional one and that he would end the press conference on his last day in 2023 in the same manner.
The Prime Minister said he had no preconceived ideas and there would be no prepared questions. “For the next five years, we will deal heart to heart and not face to face.”
He also said media and the government should work hand in hand. “Do not let space and language be a barrier. Let us know anything and we can work together, helping each other.”
Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering also conveyed His Majesty The King’s command on the need to work for the interest of the country and the people and not for the party.
He also said that all the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Members of Parliament (MPs) would return any gifts they receive to the government, respecting the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) gift rule. “We decided to return the dharswe receive today.”
The Prime Minister said the government would decide what to do with the gifts. “We will either return it to the people or offer it to lhakhangs or goendeys.”
The Lyonchhen also asked the media not to refer the government as ‘DNT government’ but as the ‘Royal government of Bhutan’ as far as possible.
He emphasised the importance of responsible reporting, responsible story writing, and responsible journalism. “If you don’t adhere to it, I am worried the government might have to take actions. We need constructive criticism and not criticism for the sake of criticising.”
The Prime Minister also said the Cabinet ministers come from humble background. “We offer ministers who are committed to serve the people. They also have the knowledge and competency.”
He said the ministers are young and old. “To keep in line with our policy of change, we didn’t send the ministers to their parent ministry.”
Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said whether the media likes DNT or not, it is must to trust DNT and work together for the next five years. “You all should take advantage of DNT’s inexperience.”
He also said the government would be good if the media is good but would be very bad if the media is bad. “If the media is in a bad state even after five years, it is important to retrospect if it is the media’s fault.”
He said he would follow the media houses and individual writers closely and the government would institute a committee to follow up on media houses and media persons and those media persons who do good would be recognised. “Promotions and offers might go to those selected reporters and government’s support might go to those media houses which perform well.”
Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said if the media bullies the government, everyone would be down. “If you support us, this Cabinet could really perform. We are all professionals.”
He said for the next five years, all 47 members of the Parliament would work together without any differentiation of the parties they belong to. “I met with DPT leadership and I proposed that we will work together to provide public an opportunity to give a feeling that this Parliament is a different one. I requested them to tell us when we are wrong and support us on issues that will benefit the country and the people.”
He said the success of the proposal would depend on how the Opposition takes it. “We will meet the leaders of all political parties as the first order of our business and incorporate the pledges based on the importance of the pledges and funds available.”
The press conference ended with the PM asking the media to undo the anonymous writers on social media. “If you use anonymous accounts or have friends who have accounts, please stop it. It is hurting individuals badly and that is dividing the nation.”
The media persons burst into laughter when the Lyonchhen asked the media to tell if anyone knows who ‘Solo Pentang’ (a social media user) is. “Please discourage this kind of negative writing.”
Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering
Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji: Minister for Foreign Affairs
Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen: Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs
Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor: Minister for Agriculture and Forests
Lyonpo Karma Donnen Wangdi: Minister for Information and Communications
Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo: Minister for Health
Lyonpo Loknath Sharma: Minister for Economic Affairs
Lyonpo Namgay Tshering: Minister for Finance
Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji: Minister for Labour and Human Resources
Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai: Minister for Education
Lyonpo Dorji Tshering: Minister for Works and Human Settlement
By Tashi Dema