Bulkan’s excuse for dismissing PS “not tenable” – MP
– notes that all PSs are empowered with centralized authority
More than two years after Government had allowed Colin Croal’s contract to expire and then remove him by default from his post, the Government’s excuse for firing this former permanent secretary is not holding water with some.
Member of Parliament for the Opposition, Ganga Persaud, described the reasoning proffered by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, as a “lame attempt” to defend a political witch-hunt.
“Colin Croal was a permanent secretary. Every ministry would have a permanent secretary who will have not only centralised, but national, reach and coverage for every sphere of the ministry. It’s his mandate,” Persaud said.
“So Mr. Croal, or whoever would have been Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government — now Communities — would have had that reach to interface and interact through the normal communication channels,” Persaud explained.
Stressing that the minister needed to comprehend the fact that Croal was supposed to have centralized authority, he attributed the minister’s statement to finding an excuse for firing the permanent secretary because of political affiliation.
“He selected (an excuse) that is not tenable. What is clear (is that) the more Mr Bulkan speaks, (the more) it is exposing Government’s tendency to discriminate against people because of their perceived political affiliations. That is the kind of message he is bringing across,” Persaud declared.
“I think it is a very lame attempt at seeking to defend political witch-hunting, political discrimination, and (it is) denying (a) Guyanese of (his) right to work; irrespective of his competence, just based on their perceived political affiliation,” Persaud explained.
Minister Bulkan had, days ago, defended his decision to effectively dismiss Croal — who had served in three ministries under the previous administration — by claiming that he did not have confidence in his ability to function under a new system. This was in response to social commentator Christopher Ram’s questioning the decision not to have Croal serve as a permanent secretary under the new administration. Ram, in a recent critique directed towards President David Granger, had urged the Public Service Department to carry out an audit of the persons dismissed since his administration took office, together with their qualifications and experience.
“There are a lot of discarded and unused brains available, but, unfortunately, they seem to lack the further qualification of the right race. Glaringly, this is true of the permanent secretaries under the PPP/C, but let me give two examples in which an explanation was in fact offered”, Ram had said.
Ram had pointed to Croal, who “holds an MBA and served creditably as permanent secretary in three ministries. He is not implicated in any wrongdoing, but was effectively dismissed by the Granger Administration because he was on the PPP/C list for the 2015 elections.”
Minister Bulkan, in response, had stated, “The fact is, though, that the decision to not renew his contract was mine alone…I acted based on my own deliberate judgment.”
According to Minister Bulkan, after consideration, “I concluded that based on the record of centralized government embraced by the regime in which Mr Croal functioned, I did not feel confident of his ability or readiness to function in this Administration, one which has as core values the philosophy of strong, autonomous, and empowered local government organs and a decentralized system of multi-tiered government.”
He noted, too, that, “Mr Croal was effectively dismissed, in that his contract of employment was not renewed.”
Ram, in his critique of the President, had said, “Being on an electoral list appears to have been a qualification for top jobs in the Granger Administration for the hierarchy of the APNU and AFC parties, some of whom are paid high salaries determined on the whim of persons of equally suspect expertise for doing work for which they have no academic or professional qualifications or experience.”