Govt tight-lipped on findings of probe into ‘arbitrary’ firing of PSM staff

Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley
Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley

The special Board of Inquiry (BoI) report on the arbitrary firing of staff at the Public Service Ministry by Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley has already been reviewed by President David Granger but to date, the Government’s lips are sealed about its findings.

Over three weeks ago, this special report was officially handed over to the State Minister, Dawn Hastings-Williams, who in turn presented the document to President David Granger for his review, but both Minister Hastings-Williams and the Ministry of the Presidency remain mum on the matter.

Since the BoI report was initially handed over to Minister Hastings-Williams weeks ago, attempts by INews to contact her in this regard have proved futile.

One week ago, Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, had stated that although he was not provided with a copy of the report or has not yet been briefed as to its findings at that time, the staff from the Public Service Ministry that are involved in the matter are still employed by the Government.

“It [report] was completed and it was sent to her [Minister Hastings-Williams] and then I think she passed it on to the President. So, I don’t know whether the President has completed his reviewing of it. I cannot say specifically.”

He noted that until a decision is made in relation to the BoI report, the staff remain on administrative leave.

Almost a month ago, Minister Sarabo-Halley defended the firing of staff members from her department shortly after she would have assumed office, saying that there was evidence at her disposal to warrant dismissal.

“I think that the evidence that was before me suggested that something needed to be done and the investigation would bear whether or not that was rational,” the Minister stated at a recent press conference.

She, nevertheless, did not reveal any bit of evidence that she referred to but noted that the investigation will soon wrap up with the findings.

When the news broke about the arbitrary firing of personnel staff and the chief accountant, the Government initially denied firing them but one week after, Director General Harmon confirmed that indeed, the workers were sent home.

But he said higher authorities had since intervened and the dismissed staff were eventually sent on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had alluded to the fact that the fired workers were initially targeted and arbitrarily dismissed after they revealed that the children of a Government Minister received payments amounting to over G$20 million in the last two years to study overseas.