GRA employees are not public servants

Dear Editor,

According to the media there appears to be a misconstruction of roles, respectively of the Chairman and Board of the Guyana Revenue Authority, and that of the President, GPSU; probably because in one instance the authors are uninformed of the Revenue Authority Act 13 of 1996, amended by 16 of 2003, Clause 2 (1) which reads as follows:

“Functions of Governing Board (16 of 2003)

“(1) The Governing Board shall be responsible for –

“a)   subject to subsection (2) the approval and review of the policy of the Authority;

“b)   the monitoring of the performance of the Authority in carrying out functions; and

“(c)  the discipline and control of all members of staff of the Authority appointed under this Act.”

In an apparent rush to personalise a difference of positions between the two parties much ado has been made of the quoted expressions of the Chairman, as distinct from the statutory authority of that office and the Board.

In the process of suggesting support for the posturing of the GPSU leader, it does not appear as if any attempt was made to definitively establish whether or not the employees of the GRA are in fact ‘public servants’. A check would show that neither the Act nor the National Budget approved by parliament would sustain this presumption.

That some employees themselves share this presumption and have consequently resorted to union membership does not make the former valid.

As is well known by employees and unions alike, it is for the Chief Labour Officer to pronounce on the status of the relationship between the contending parties, the first step being to establish whether or not there is a recognition agreement mutually signed, and registered with that office.

One apologises for the preamble to the simple enquiry about whether such a legal instrument exists.

In the final analysis, however, all the above is but a distraction from the fact that the leader of the GPSU who schizophrenically sits as an employer on the Public Service Commission must know that appointments to the GRA, and indeed other statutory bodies do not fall within the purview of that commission.

It follows, therefore, very glaringly, that none of their employees can be construed to be public servants.  The union arguably has no locus standi in this case.

 

Yours faithfully,

E B John

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