President David Granger on Sunday said that the old model of confrontation and acrimony between the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the government must be abandoned in favour of a co-operative one.
He was speaking at the GPSU’s 95th Anniversary Brunch in the Baridi Benab at State House. He said that the old model must be eschewed in the interest of the effective delivery of public services throughout the length and breadth of the country, a release from the Ministry of the Presidency said.
The President’s remarks will raise eyebrows as despite fervent pledges while in opposition, the APNU+AFC government is still to restore free collective bargaining in the public service more than three years after it took office. Members of the GPSU have had to accept imposed, end-of-year increases from the government.
“We need to establish among ourselves some form of social compact, particularly between the State and the servants of the State. We have to work together. What happens out there is not only the concern of Central Government; it is the concern of all of us… We are partners in administering and running Guyana,” he said.
The President’s mentioning of a social compact will raise questions about what his government has done over the last three years to advance such an initiative.
Making reference to the first major study on the civil service, the 1953 Mills Report, Granger said that it is his vision and mission to have a highly-skilled and professional public service, which is capable of providing to Ministers of any Government, the best of its organised thought and collective experience.
He said that “never again should any government come into office and be faced with a situation in which senior public servants are taken before the courts or are removed from office.”
President Granger also reminded public servants that they must project themselves beyond Central Government and the coast.
“The public service has to be the custodian of standards and those standards have to characterise the delivery of services to all of the regions… You must be able to understand and communicate in the language of the people in the hinterland… You represent a vital constituency and we cannot deliver public services without you,” he said.
Prior to the Brunch at State House, there was a church service at the St. Andrews Kirk Presbyterian Church, located on Brickdam and Avenue of the Republic, led by Reverend Maureen Messiah. President Granger and Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes attended the service.