Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, July 21, 2022: Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh yesterday during the 48 the Sitting of the 12 the Parliament lambasted the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) for that party’s treatment of public servants during its term in office as he added that while pretending to care for public servants through a motion moved in Parliament seeking support for them, the Opposition Party already knew that there was no ‘policy’ which causes new entrants into the public service to be paid three months after they would have been employed, but rather, the issue usually resulted due to various bureaucratic processes fully well known by the party and which it was unable to resolve itself for the benefit of hard working public servants, between the period 2015-2020, despite its meek attempts. Dr. Singh added that the party was therefore being hypocritical since during its five years while in government (between 2015- 2020) public servants were treated extremely callously.
Highlighting his point, Dr. Singh noted that it was in December, 2019 that APNU/AFC’s Tabitha Sarabo Halley while Minister of the Public Service at the time issued a circular on the very same matter.
“Indeed in 2019…. the Public Service Ministry under the Ministerial tenure of Ms. Tabitha Sarabo Halley issued circular Number 2 of 2019 and that circular reads as follows (mind you four years after they entered office): “There is seemingly some misinformation concerning the practice of the payment of salaries to new entrants into the public service which is being relayed could only be done within a 3 months period. Please be advised that there is no such practice or rule hence, the practice and misinformation must cease forthwith…..”. The Minister indicated following his reading out of the entire circular that the circular clearly indicated that the then Government knew what the problem was and the Minister added that given the employment process involving typically advertisements, applications etc. and the process to formalize their employment, Government Orders being issued etc. and partly as a result of various bureaucracies, the process becomes a more protracted one for appointees, especially if persons turn out to work before the employment contract and appointment letter have been issued. On that note, the Finance Minister posited that it is the PPP/C’s position that persons must be paid as soon as possible after they receive their appointment instrument and/or their contract.
But the Senior Finance Minister not only alluded to the issue of the APNU/AFC not resolving the same issues they were bringing to Parliament, but he also pointed to other actions of that party which demonstrated their treatment of public servants, such as the forcing of thousands of public servants, including professional medical doctors, to move from the contract gratuity system to the pensionable establishment.
“They claim that they love public servants and they champion their cause….’you think the public servants don’t know or they have forgotten that you compelled thousands of them to give up their contract gratuity status and to move to permanent establishment status?” Minister Singh asked the Opposition Members as he addressed the National Assembly. “Do you know the effect that had?’ That had the effect of reducing those people’s emoluments by 22.5 percent,” Dr. Singh said.
“Many of these public servants were members of the Disciplined Services-Policemen and women, soldiers, firemen, they took away the one-month bonus from them….under the People’s Progressive Civic Government they used to get a one-month bonus ” Dr. Singh further reminded the National Assembly.
The finance minister then continued that many public servants who worked beyond the call of duty were told by the APNU/AFC Government that they should either take their leave or lose it and consequently, public servants who were already over stretched and hardworking were willing to forego their leave to get work done since the APNU/AFC Government told them that they would not be paid their salary in lieu of leave.