Several senior employees of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MNRE) hired on the directive of Minister Robert Persaud are being paid significant sums by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) even though their exact job portfolios and the value of their work is unclear to the agency.
“It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement for them but they are still being paid…,” an official of the GGMC told Stabroek News. The official said that there is no accountability to the GGMC for their time. Observers note that this is one of the unorthodox methods that the government is using agencies like the GGMC for. The GGMC is in the midst of another controversy over a loan deal that it signed with the Central Planning and Housing Authority.
The employees their salaries and job descriptions are shown in the table below.
The official explained that most of the workers were employed with Persaud when he was the Minister of Agriculture and in 2011 when the MNRE was created Persaud chose most of them to follow him. Aditya Persaud stayed on at the Ministry of Agriculture but subsequently resigned and took up the offer at MNRE.
Efforts yesterday by Stabroek News to contact Minister Persaud on how and why the GGMC were paying these salaries proved futile.
The official also explained that since MNRE was a newly formed ministry created by the Donald Ramotar administration, there was no immediate budget allocated to run it. This was explained to the GGMC board and a request was made to facilitate payments for some of the employees.
However to date, GGMC continues to pay the employees, costing that agency some $2.2M monthly, without explanation from the MNRE.
Lee worked as Persaud’s Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and then migrated to his ministry. She continues in her capacity and according to the official “does an excellent job.”
Another source at the ministry pointed out that whenever the accounts department of the GGMC queries the payments for the workers, they are told to “ask the minister himself” or that the decision to continue to pay the group was made by the board of the GGMC. “The question is what are they doing and can anyone over at MNRE show the work that do?
What policies are they making and for where? Consulting them to do what? As far as we know they come in and that’s all that matters,” the source said.