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We need to review laws governing Public Service

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Fri, Oct 14. 2011

Editor: The much heated debate concerning the alleged act of sabotage by a public servant in the Ministry of Agriculture brings to the forefront the need to look at the laws governing public servants. While we recognize that there are many sides to a story, it has already happened.{{more}}

This situation ought to make us wake up and realize how important the public services are; they can either break or make an administration. Therefore, it is time to pay attention to this important sector. If we are honest enough, we would realize that in all the ministries in this country, there are public servants who will not work in the interest of the administration of the day. It has happened in the past, when previous administrations ruled, and it will certainly continue to occur once something is not done to safeguard the stability of any administration. We have to bear in mind that the ULP will not always be in power, and there will, therefore, be public servants who will not work in the interest of the country, but will allow partisan politics to take precedent and will seek to make the administration of the day look bad.

Since public servants have protection under the Public Service Act, where once you are a qualified person, and so a professional, you cannot be dismissed. You can only be transferred or if locked up be suspended, and if the suspended public servant wins his case, he has to be reinstated. The public servant can be transferred as a disciplinary act. It means that public servants are secure, thus many have taken advantage of the system and are not working at their best. It is so in every department where there are delinquent public servants.

This act of delinquency will continue regardless of which party is in power. Even if one is employed based on meritocracy, it is not fully guaranteed, for at some point in time, that individual may have an issue with the administration of the day, and because of his protection may seek to make the government look bad. It is, therefore, important that Parliament act now and revise the section where public servants cannot be fired, but only transferred or suspended for a period of time.

With the increase in persons being qualified, we will have more incompetent and lazy public servants. Thus this section needs to be changed to give the employer the privilege to fire or dismiss a worker when that worker is not performing or has done some terrible act of sabotage. I realize that there will be much discussion on this subject, but we need to protect whichever administration is in office. Of course, there must be proper investigations done before making a conclusion and issuing a judgment.

Kennard King

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