By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Quite a number of public servants have been fired by the new government while others did not have their contracts renewed but Minister of State, Joseph Harmon is adamant that this does not amount to “thousands” being let go by the APNU+AFC administration.
Harmon clarified the issue at a post cabinet media briefing on Friday, August 21, when he was asked to respond to claims by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) that public servants were fired due to their perceived affiliation with the former government.
But while he defended the decision of the new administration to send some public servants home, the Minister of State could not provide a definite figure as to how many persons were dismissed, sent on leave, or contracts not renewed since they APNU+AFC government took office on May 16.
“I can’t give you an exact figure right now, but I will address this matter in my presentation in the National Assembly…it is nothing of thousands of employees being fired. There are persons, whom I indicated here at these press conferences, who were doing primarily political work for the PPP and being paid by the government. We made a very clear distinction where that is concerned,” the Minister of State said.
He also made it clear that persons were not dismissed because of their affiliation with the former PPP government.,
“We are not concerned which political party you represent, what your political views are but if you are doing government work then we have no problem with that but if you’re being paid by government to do purely Party work then we have a problem with that because the Party must pay you if you are doing their work,” Harmon told reporters.
He also shun the use of contracts by the then PPP government for public servants, stating that it was used as a measure of control.
“There are persons who were on contracts, it expired and were not renewed. This is a jeopardy which in fact the PPP administration placed a number of public servants in. Because had they been in the public service, there is a particular procedure which have to be followed but they forced a lot of public servants to go onto this contract arrangement by giving them inducements of a gratuity every six months or gratuity every three months…but what that gave the government is time control over these public servants,” Harmon explained.
A number of Permanent Secretaries and other government employees were fired when the APNU+AFC government took office in May following the general and regional elections, which saw the PPP losing control after 23 years in government.