The new President can make a significant (chalk) mark

Dear Editor,

It would be interesting to learn whether the Ministers of Government who have recently demitted their respective offices were provided with the statutory notice of termination, or offered pay in lieu. One expects the former Attorney General and former Minister of Labour will confer on the appropriateness of any representation which may be needed in this regard.

With the new President’s commitment to a clean slate, he can make a significant (chalk) mark by ensuring that those officials who held previous portfolios, say on commissions and corporations, surrender the related benefits packages with effect from the date of assumption of their new positions.

This should be useful work for the acting Auditor General to initiate, if only as a reminder to the new administration that the Public Accounts Committee, which hitherto held his incumbency in limbo, would need to be re-constituted as a matter of priority.

Additionally, it follows that the Ethnic Relations Commission must be legally re-constituted, of course, after full consultation with the opposition.

Similarly the vacant chairmanship of the Guyana Post Office Corporation can now be more effectively filled, following advertised invitations to single-minded persons. The successful appointee must be reminded of the pretentious mandate unfulfilled by his/her predecessor, who mouthed as follows (at the opening of the Caribbean Post Union Conference held in Guyana in September, 2010):

“. . . the [Caribbean] Postal Service needs an overhauling. We have to become modern, we have to become efficient, we have to become profitable . . . because the stamps and letters and parcels are not what they are expecting at the community level. They are expecting the delivery of a high level of service, that the government is using the post to get to the people.”

Of great relief to all must be the public admission that agriculture is ailing, with GuySuCo in the intensive care unit, and that it needs the most superlative medical attention. At last, however, the vets and other agricultural professionals will be able to think for themselves, with exhilaration.

Meanwhile the Ministry of National Resources and Environment, will demand an MBA in languages – Spanish, Portuguese and some Chinese.

It was heartening also to receive confirmation of the widely accepted view that labour/management relations in Guyana had reached their nadir. However, it remains to be seen whether the ex-Chairman of GuySuCo would have benefitted from that flawed experience, and be able to restore a sobering balance, and active compliance with the conventions, laws and regulations relating to an employment environment increasingly diluted by the management styles and practices of foreign employers.

The ‘rock star’ general’s legal departure (for a record second time) can hardly be regretted. His rhetoric will certainly be far more difficult to replicate than his substance.
All will be relieved to acknowledge that there is now an authentic First Lady in State House.

An even greater sense of relief must be expressed by informed observers over the movement from the Public Service Commission to the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

It is at least curious that over recent years both agencies have become irrelevant to their respective areas of governance. For some time now the PSC has been bypassed by the rest of the public service entities all of whom indulge in employing staff by contract – a process over which the PSC has no control. (The Estimates of the Public Sector presented to the National Assembly reveals an increase by 163 (7%) in contract employees – from 2241 in 2010 to 2404 in 2011.)

Similarly, examination will show that the performance of the various Ministers of Local Government and Regional Development has been consistently indifferent at best, with no effective supervision and control of Regional Executive Officers in the so-called ‘Development’ operations. This ministry has never been able to have the position of REO declared in the National Estimates as an authentic public service position.

Meanwhile the NDCs continue to be dysfunctional, where not totally non-operational. The new incumbent therefore will not be in unfamiliar territory.

Fortunately the transfer resolves the earlier transgression of transparency in the appointment of the last Chairman of the Public Service Commission by not involving the agreement of the dinosauric opposition of the time. There is now an opportunity to correct the constitutional misdeed.

Yours faithfully,
E B John

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