APNU/AFC political appointees left to sabotage new Govt
…by omitting termination clauses from contracts
The new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration is faced with an uphill battle in dealing with the issue of political appointees who are refusing to tender their resignations following the recent change of Government.
Following its defeat at the March 2 General and Regional Elections, it was expected that persons who were engaged in “political work” as personal advisors or assistants to the President or Ministers would have offered their resignations.
However, Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira, during an interview with Kaieteur Radio, on Wednesday, detailed the challenges being faced by her Government is getting the political appointees to comply and do “the honourable thing”.
According to Teixeira, some of the political appointees’ contracts contained no termination clause and therefore the new Administration is being faced with some difficulty in ending the services of such individuals.
“What we have discovered is that a number of the political appointees’ contracts, for some strange reason, is not like the normal standard contract that is used in the public service.”
“It’s deliberate, (they) left out the clauses of termination…There is no termination clause, so how do you terminate?” Teixeira added.
She explained that some of these persons have three-year contracts which will expire in 2022.
What is also most disturbing, Teixeira highlighted, is that some of the contracts were issued post-March 2 General and Regional Elections; even after it was clear that the coalition had lost power.
She outlined that then President Granger must have known that his Government had lost the elections and it’s a shame that the coalition went ahead and engaged in such actions.
“This is what I am talking about, the level of depravity to do this,” she fumed.
According to the veteran politician, the present situation is at “a level of vulgarity and indecency I have never seen even when we took over in 1992 from the then PNC Government.”
In terms of how the Government intends to move forward on this matter, the Minister disclosed that Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has been “challenged to deal with this”.
She argued that if one is appointed as an advisor or special projects officer to the President or a Minister, “you come as part of the entourage or baggage of the Government”. Hence, when the Government changes, “it is the honourable and the right thing to do, and that is to resign because you are no longer serving that President and that Administration, which was the reason for your being appointed in the first place”.
“In mature parliamentary democracies…as soon as the President or Prime Minister is voted out, the political appointees automatically are resigned,” Teixeira noted.
She related that while the then Government Ministers, in general, handed over their keys to offices and vehicles etc, the political appointees have been the most resistant to comply.
Teixeira explained that the Administration was forced to write letters to some persons asking them to vacate the Government living quarters. However, many of them have been resistant, “so we will have to go further”.
The Minister also debunked claims that the majority of those who are being relieved of their duties are of one particular ethnic group. “This is not true,” she said.
Over the past few days, several of the new Ministers have lamented that across the public service, there are hundreds of persons who were recruited by the APNU/AFC coalition on contracts enjoying “generous” salaries and benefits for doing “political work”.
Only on Monday, Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall revealed that his predecessor, Ronald Bulkan, paid over $800 million to 56 staffers for doing absolutely no work during his five-year term in office.
Dharamlall related that the discovery of Bulkan’s mismanagement of taxpayers’ monies was discovered when he along with Junior Minister Anand Persaud conducted a situational assessment of the Ministry.
The Ministers found that there were 23 staff members in Bulkan’s Secretariat earning a total of $7,730,000 per month. The Minister noted that those persons are all active members of the APNU/AFC coalition.
The PPP/C Administration has assured that public servants who conduct themselves professionally have “nothing to fear” and their salaries or general welfare will not be negatively affected.