Home Top Stories Dismissal of PSM staff by Minister unlawful – BoI report reveals
…staff reinstated, no disciplinary action against Minister
The Board of Inquiry (BoI) into the dismissal of Public Service Ministry (PSM) staff has been completed, with the inquiry finding that the letters of dismissal to the public servants were unlawful and recommending their reinstatement.
This was revealed by Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, during a press conference earlier today. According to Harmon, the inquiry made these findings and completed its report, which was then forwarded to President David Granger.
Harmon noted that the reinstatement of the three staff from the personnel and accounts department: Andrew Grant, Gail Williams and Andrea Dazzel retroactively takes effect from July 25, 2019 – the date they were originally dismissed.
“The President agreed with the recommendations… the Board found that the letters to the three public servants were unlawful and having regard to its determinations and findings, recommended that the letters be immediately withdrawn”.
“The public servants will be reinstated immediately and be restored to their respective positions within the Department of Public Service and will continue to enjoy all benefits they previously enjoyed prior to their termination,” Harmon added.
According to Harmon, the report also recommended that Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley be advised of the need for due process and of policies relating to disciplining staff.
“I believe that the three public servants have been called and of course they will have to be debriefed. The issue of course was the actions that were taken ought to have been taken by a permanent secretary in the Ministry”.
“The Ministry was without a permanent secretary for some time. A permanent secretary was appointed on August 1 of this year and the new Permanent Secretary is now following up on these actions to ensure a speedy implementation of these decisions of the CoI,” Harmon said.
This publication was unable to access the report. However, the former Minister of State made no mention of disciplinary measures against the Public Service Minister.
Sarabo-Halley was sworn in as a minister on April 26, 2019. By June 3, it was reported that she had sent the aforementioned staff packing. After initially denying that the dismissals ever happened, the Government subsequently confirmed that the workers were sent home and an investigation was launched.
Several staff members were said to have also received similar letters. Employees who have been removed were called PPP “moles” by political activist David Hinds, who is said to have a close relation with the subject Minister.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, at one of his press conferences, had alluded to the fact that those workers were initially targeted and arbitrarily dismissed by Minister Sarabo-Halley after he blew the whistle on transactions at the Ministry of the Presidency which he claimed saw the children of a Government Minister receiving payments amounting to over $20 million in the last two years.
The Opposition had at the time been revealing information about alleged corrupt practices within the Government. One of those revelations is that the children of a senior Minister allegedly received over US$86,000 in 2018, monies that were transferred from the Department of Public Service, followed by another transfer this year.
Jagdeo had noted that the staff at the PSM were sent packing shortly after his first disclosure because the Government believed that those workers had leaked information to the Opposition about corrupt actions by the administration.
The dismissals touched of a barrage of criticism, resulting in the Government appointing Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil) Chairman and former People’s National Congress (PNC) Executive Lance Carberry to carry out the inquiry.