NDIA cannot take over agriculture staff – Region 6 Vice Chair
A proposal by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to take over the staff attached to the Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) Regional Democratic Council (RDC) staff who work in the agriculture department cannot materialise. This is according to Regional Vice Chairman of Region Six Dennis DeRoop.
He noted that the NDIA dispatched a letter to the RDC indicating plans to utilise a
part of the region’s agriculture budget and to take over the staff. However, at a special meeting of the RDC yesterday, DeRoop said it is not possible for the staff to be transferred to the NDIA.
Regional Chairman David Armogan at Wednesday’s special sitting of the RDC, announced that the NDIA is planning to take over the staff attached to the agriculture department in the region.
The special sitting of the RDC was held to discuss moves by the Agriculture Ministry to have the NDIA take over the agriculture budget for that region.
Cabinet has taken a decision to have the $114 million from the capital budget transferred to the NDIA along with $108 million from the current budget. The region’s total agriculture budget is $370 million.
As it relates to the staff, DeRoop said the issue has already been discussed at various levels.
“There are saying that they will take over the staff but this is impossible. We have discussed this already at various level about taking over of staff. This cannot happen. The permanent staff under the Public Service Ministry cannot be transferred to an entity like NDIA. NDIA is just an entity that has been created to assist the Ministry of Agriculture. Permanent staff cannot be transferred to NDIA,” DeRoop explained.
He said any takeover of staff will mean that the staff will have to relinquish their employment through the Public Service Ministry in order to take up temporary employment with the NDIA.
“No permanent staff will agree to leave a permanent status and go into a contractual arrangement. This can only be done by giving up their permanent status and going to a contractual arrangement with NDIA.”
On Wednesday, the RDC took a decision to write Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan expressing its disappointment over moves by the Agriculture Ministry to have the NDIA take over the agriculture budget for that region.
DeRoop added that even if it was a Cabinet decision there is nothing that says it cannot be reversed.
“If this was a decision taken last year, why did they not make it adjustable in such a way that the money be budgeted under the Ministry of Agriculture and reduce the approbation under the regional budget. There are a lot of unanswered questions. I think the perception is that the circumstances under which this decision was made are crookish. Many Cabinet decisions are being challenged in court, especially if there is a breach of the Constitution. This is a breach of the Constitution by taking money that was budgeted for the region and giving it to the NDIA,” DeRoop added.