Debunking claims of discrimination

Dear Editor,
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development wishes to debunk as mischievous statements made in a letter purportedly written by a concerned member of staff and disseminated by a known recalcitrant former staff who was terminated by the Public Service Commission.
The letter, which presents a false narrative about the Ministry and its operation, is riddled with inaccuracies, speculations and conjecture.
Further, the Ministry wishes to deflate any theories being bandied about that the Ministry is anti-black and pro-Hindu. In fact, 98 percent of the persons in the Minister’s Secretariat are not of East Indian ethnicity.
As a matter of fact, the last administration did not practise ethnic diversity in its recruitment policy, and staff have been known to complain about this.
For the record, everyone remains on staff, including known members of the APNU/AFC who served as polling agents and activists, and no staff was terminated from the Ministry, except those who were political appointees.
Moreover, all Heads of Department remain unchanged, except in the case of the Sanitation Unit, where the Head was beyond the age of retirement and has since been retained in an advisory capacity with salary and benefits unchanged.
The clerk who was mentioned in the letter worked closely with a former minister, and as such, that person’s contract has expired.
The Procurement Manager has not been relieved of his duties, and is still being allowed to function in that capacity. However, his department has now been subsumed as part of the restructuring of the Engineering and Procurement Services Unit. His salary also remains unchanged.
As it relates to the two drivers being dismissed, the Ministry wishes to make it clear that one of those drivers is currently interdicted pending a criminal matter, while the other is beyond the age of retirement and his contract has expired.
The issue with the staff not being granted duty-free concession, the staff mentioned has been reassigned within the Ministry in a capacity that does not require field work.
Mention was also made about the Deputy Permanent Secretary (who serves as chair of the Events Committee) being the only black person on the Committee, and there being no religious representation.
This is far from the truth, as the committee comprises three black staff and three East Indian staff, one of whom is in fact a Muslim.
Reports of disciplinary infractions at the Ministry’s Camp Street Annex have been noted, and the administration would shortly be taking the necessary steps to remedy this.
The Ministry maintains that any qualified member of the public has access to employment, as long as a vacancy exists therein. The Ministers and their managerial teams all have an open-door policy, and all attempts to sow seeds of discord and disunity will continue to be rebuffed.
The Ministry wishes to reinforce Government’s position of inclusion and unity, and finds it reprehensible that agents provocateurs are seeking to create tension and ethnic division among staff members.

Ministry of Local
Government and
Regional Development