Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, has defended his decision to effectively dismiss Permanent Secretary Collin Croal, who had served under three Ministries in the previous Administration, saying he did not have confidence in his ability to function under a new system.
Bulkan, by way of a public missive, has since responded to social commentator Chris Ram, who had questioned the decision not to have Croal serve as a Permanent Secretary under the new Administration.
Ram, in a critical missive produced over the weekend and directed towards President David Granger, had urged the Public Service Department to carry out an audit of the persons dismissed since his Administration took office, together with their qualifications and experience.
“There are a lot of discarded and unused brains available; but, unfortunately, they seem to lack the further qualification of the right race. Glaringly, this is true of the permanent secretaries under the PPP/C, but let me give two examples in which an explanation was in fact offered.”
Ram pointed to Croal, who “holds an MBA and served creditably as Permanent Secretary in three ministries. He is not implicated in any wrongdoing, but was effectively dismissed by the Granger Administration because he was on the PPP/C list for the 2015 elections.”
Minister Bulkan, in response, has stated, “The fact is, though, that the decision to not renew his contract was mine alone…I acted based on my own deliberate judgment.”
According to Minister Bulkan, after consideration, “I concluded that based on the record of centralised government embraced by the regime in which Mr Croal functioned, I did not feel confident of his ability or readiness to function in this Administration, one which has as core values the philosophy of strong, autonomous, and empowered local government organs and a decentralised system of multi-tiered government.”
He noted, too, that “Mr Croal was effectively dismissed in that his contract of employment was not renewed. (Mr Croal chose to be a contracted employee with the knowledge that contracts are subject to non-renewal).
In regard to Ram’s suggestion that the employment decisions were rooted in race, Minister Bulkan was adamant, “I have always chosen my professional associates based on considerations of character and merit; race has never been a factor.”
According to Minister Bulkan, “With reference to President David Granger, any suggestion that he is racially prejudiced borders on the ludicrous.”
Ram, in his critique of the President, had said, “Being on an electoral list appears to have been a qualification for top jobs in the Granger Administration for the hierarchy of the APNU and AFC parties, some of whom are paid high salaries determined on the whim of persons of equally suspect expertise for doing work for which they have no academic or professional qualifications or experience.”