The Public Service is not a rest home

Dear Editor,

The Ministry notes your article, “Finance seeks new Chief Planning Officer, Deputy Finance Secretary after resignations” (SN 2018-07-28) and wishes to provide some context to the subject. We are concerned that the personal matters of former employees of the Ministry have been included in the article seemingly without their consultation.

As a result, please note the following:

Former Deputy Finance Secretary Louise Bouyea opted not to have her contract renewed through a direct request to the Minister of Finance. We thank her for her service to the Ministry and the country.

Former Chief Executive Officer of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board Donald DeClou’s contract was not renewed.  Among other considerations for the non-renewal of his contract was the fact that he had attained the age of retirement both the Public Sector age of 55 and what obtained for workers of the former State Planning Secretariat, age 60. We thank him for his service to the Ministry and the country.

Former Chief Planning Officer, Dr. Nelson Modeste resigned in June of this year. Similarly, we thank him for his service.

The policy of the Ministry under the stewardship of Hon. Winston Jordan is that employees who reach the age of retirement are not kept on unless they bring some special skill that is critical to the work of the Ministry, or, where suitable replacements cannot be found within the Ministry. We see this as part of giving younger civil servants the opportunities to build careers with us.  It is also the case that in many other countries, individuals start a second career after they have retired. Guyanese retirees should begin to plan accordingly so that they can continue to be employed once they can parlay their skills to other areas. We do not view the public service as a rest home. This will be counterproductive to the vision that this government has for its Public Service.

As with any dynamic organisation, the loss of staff is inevitable. The competence and efficiency of our middle and senior employees are well known, but alas! They are often poached by local and international agencies, including sister Ministries. We accept this reality and remain proud of the work ethic and the level of skills acquired by employees of the Ministry. Since 2015, many of our middle and senior employees, whose progress was stymied previously for frivolous reasons, have been sent for training both locally and overseas, and received scholarships to Universities abroad. The Ministry is investing in employees who by both their achievements and commitment to their duties show that they are keen to contribute to the development of Guyana. This, despite the ever present challenge of losing them to other employers.

The Ministry of Finance believes that it is especially important that the skills employed can meet the new demands of the services to be provided by Government Ministries and Agencies. The advent of oil production in 2020 will test the ability and capacity of almost all government departments. We are keenly aware of the unique challenges the Ministry of Finance will face, and we are making important and necessary changes to build both the capacity of our ministry and to identify individuals with the requisite skills.  Therefore, we see the current changes as very positive and part of our plan to create a dynamic, responsive ministry for the exciting transformation of our economy and country.

Yours faithfully,

Wanita Huburn

PRO

Ministry of Finance

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