No witch-hunting, firing of public servants – President Ali
…political appointees should do the “honourable” thing and resign – Teixeira
As it continues the transition process into office, the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has denied claims of witch-hinting of public servants but instead is trying to retrieve State resources from political appointees under the former APNU/AFC regime, whose services are no longer required.
In a brief statement on Friday, President Dr Irfaan Ali said no public servant has been fired since he took the Oath of Office on Sunday, August 2, 2020.
The Head of State noted that a number of APNU/AFC political appointees have tendered their resignation and several others have been advised accordingly.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, during a virtual update earlier on Friday. She assured that public servants are not being targeted by the new Administration – as is being claimed by the APNU/AFC coalition.
“I want to assure Guyanese that we are not here to take away food from people’s mouth. We are not here to take away public servants who have been working hard in the system. We’re not dealing with the public servants whether they are cooks, or drivers or secretaries or clerks. If they’re political appointees in the system then… we are asking them to resign and if they do not, they will be getting letters of termination from Monday,” Teixeira said.
The Minister was at the time responding to several allegations that public servants are being fired under the new Irfaan Ali Government.
Only Friday morning former President David Granger accused that the new Administration of targeting public servants and former coalition Ministers.
But the Governance Minister explained that as it is right now, while no one has been fired or terminated, they are being persuaded to step down themselves in accordance with the standard operating protocol in any democracy.
However, there are some persons who are not complying with this practice.
Among these persons is controversial APNU/AFC agent, Carol Joseph, who holds an advisory post at the Natural Resources Ministry. Another coalition counting agent during the National Recount, Ronald Backer, who is employed at the Office of the President (formerly Ministry of the Presidency) is also refusing to vacate his post.
“We do have a problem with [Backer] seeming to believe that he does not have to hand over his office, does not have to hand over his vehicle, and does not have to move out of Government’s quarters,” the Minister noted.
Harmon applies for leave
She added that Geeta Chandan-Edwards, who was an advisor along with Backer to former Director General Joseph Harmon, also has not stepped down. In fact, Teixeira revealed that strangely, both Chandan-Edmond and Harmon, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the National COVID-19 Taskforce, have applied for 42 days leave starting Monday.
Nevertheless, Minister Teixeira noted that there are some persons like Frederick McWilfred and Dr Mark Kirton – both political appointees under the coalition Administration – who have already removed themselves from their respective posts.
According to the Governance Minister, these political appointees’ services are no longer needed since they were employed by the APNU/AFC to carry out the policy of that Administration.
As such, she contended that it is considered “honourable, decent, dignified and democratic” for these political appointees, whom she said are stacked at most of the Ministries, to step down and hand over the necessary State resources, such as devices, vehicles, offices and residences, etc.
She reminded of events post-2015 elections, whereby the then PPP/C regime vacated office on the morning of former President Granger’s inauguration and within days, handed over all State resources without any resistance.
On the contrary, the APNU/AFC had five months since the March 2 elections to prepare for the transition. In fact, she pointed out that the results from the National Recount were released since June, hence they should have been ready to hand over office since then.
Moreover, Minister Teixeira disclosed that former President Granger had already returned his cars and was given a selection of cars to use. She posited that this transition process can be smooth if everyone follows suit and hands over in an honourable and dignified manner.
“Unfortunately, there are [a] number of political appointees who were advised to hand over their vehicles – they have not handed over their vehicles as yet. They’ve been advised to vacate premises that are paid for by taxpayers – they had not done so. We are not the ones looking for a fight; in fact, it is those who don’t want to give up that are looking for a fight. So Mr Granger, take note and tell your appointees that came under your Government to behave in an honourable way and do as you did – hand over,” Teixeira urged.
According to the Minister, the PPP/C will no longer be bullied by elements from the coalition. She noted her Government wants Guyana to be a mature parliamentary democracy and as such will ensure that standard operating protocols are adhered to.