Director of Youth collects millions in salary & benefits while on leave
…was sent on leave as allegations of fraud investigated
Melissa Carmichael, the Director of Youth who was sent on leave since April last year to facilitate an investigation into fraud, has been collecting her full salary of $289,653 every month while still on administrative leave.
This was revealed by reliable sources knowledgeable about the matter. It, therefore, means that Carmichael, who was appointed back in 2016, would have earned close to $5 million in salary and benefits during her one year and four months off the job.
This publication subsequently made contact with Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Charles Ramson Jr. He confirmed that it has been brought to his attention and he will be writing to the Public Service Commission (PSC) about the issue.
“She’s been appointed by the PSC. But its been brought to my attention. So, I’m going to write to the PSC to get an explanation as to why this is happening,” Ramson informed this publication on Thursday.
But there is more. Carmichael had been sent on administrative leave based on directives from the PSC, after allegations of fraud and financial malpractice arose against her in relation to a project. Permanent Secretary Melissa Tucker had even called in the police.
According to Ramson, who was sworn in as Minister last week, there may be grounds for further investigations based on certain documents and evidence he has been presented with as part of his briefing by Ministry staff.
Since taking office, President Dr Irfaan Ali and his Cabinet have been weeding through political appointees and others who collected “fat cat” salaries for little to no work, who were inherited from the previous Government. It has been said that such positions existed in almost every Ministry.
One such position happened to be the “Director of Public Parks”, created especially for Retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry London, the man at the centre of the controversial D’Urban Park project.
During a recent interview on the National Communications Network (NCN), Attorney General Anil Nandlall had revealed that London was getting a $500,000 take-home salary in his position as Director of Public Parks, as well as his light bills paid.
“You have jobs I’ve never heard about. For instance, Head of Public Parks. He was getting $500,000 a month take home, all his light bills and phone bills being paid, he had guards at his house. His internet being paid. He has a driver and a car. He gets a duty-free allowance in an A grade, presumably the highest type of vehicle,” Nandlall had said.
Gratuity is a benefit normally afforded to public servants, where they are paid a lump sum at the end of their employment, calculated as a percentage of their pay. According to Nandlall, London was even granted gratuity as high as 22.5 per cent of his salary.
“He gets a gratuity of 22 and a half per cent every six months. And this is a guy, when I find out, is hardly ever in Guyana. But he is the Director of Public Parks. What is that? What is that? And you have hundreds of those creations, all over,” the AG had lamented.