Public officer acted contrary to ministerial instructions

Dear Editor,

I refer to an article published on page 3 of the Guyana Times of December 1 under the caption ‘Felix sends GRO’s Head on leave,’ and one published on page 4 of the Kaieteur News on December 2 under the caption ‘PPP castigates Ministry of Citizenship.’

The PPP, through its General Secretary, seems inclined to be the advocate of the Registrar General who has been sent on leave for administrative reasons. It seems that the idea being posited is that she has been wronged by this administration.

Let me say from the outset that employees at all levels in the public service structure are subject to its rules and regulations. The General Registrar reports to the subject Minister and is expected to follow instruction from same. There is a reason these structures are in place: to ensure the smooth functioning of our complex bureaucratic system. Without them chaos is the likely result, and our ability to perform our duties would be stymied with no clear line of communication.

In this particular instance it was the Registrar General who raised an issue with the Minister and he instructed her not to proceed in the direction she outlined. She was directed on the course of action to follow. This officer then acted contrary to his instructions and as a consequence she was sent on leave for the purpose of investigating whether she was in contravention of her contracted role.

It is not the purpose of the Department of Citizenship to manipulate the voters’ list as Mr Rohee has declared, but to “develop to its fullest potential, Guyana’s Registration and Immigration Service” to quote from my Budget speech in the National Assembly on Monday, 17th August, 2015.   This includes ensuring that every citizen born in this country is registered appropriately, and that every death is also so registered.

Unfortunately, it seems, the last administration did not deem this to be a priority and there were several instances found of persons being registered multiple times under different names. I find it manipulative and duplicitous to suggest that what seems to have been the modus operandi of the previous government is this administration’s way of doing business. We would not countenance any suggestion that our intentions are anything but that which admits to the fullest scrutiny. This administration should be allowed to do the job which the last one so flagrantly failed to perform in 23 years.

What I will not accept is the PPP/C attacking my character or my role as Minister of Citizenship. I have always been forthright and will not countenance anyone maligning my integrity. I have never contravened the attitudes of good behaviour in the discharge of my public office and I am willing to be subject to any scrutiny in this regard.

Yours faithfully,

Winston Felix

Minister of Citizenship  

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