“I cannot pay you to do nothing” – Harmon justifies sacking of OLPF employees

Minister Harmon addresses the PNCR Meeting. [iNews' Photo]

By Jomo Paul

Minister Harmon addresses the PNCR Meeting. [iNews' Photo]
Minister Harmon addresses the PNCR Meeting. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Friday evening sought to justify a move by the APNU+AFC government to dismiss over 40 employees from the One Laptop Per Family Program (OLPF) that was implemented under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration.

Media reports indicate that the employees were sent packing by Harmon after a needs assessment was undertaken. According to the Minister of State, it was not wise to have so many persons employed in the project when there no work for them to do.

“I can’t keep all of you because next time around when Jagdeo and them come into the Parliament, they gon question me…what are you doing with 72 persons here…so I had to make the situation right early…I said to many of them, it was nice having you here…there is no work for you to do and I cannot pay you the people’s money to do nothing…so it might be better if you find alternative employment where you can be better utilized,” Harmon told a gathering outside the Stabroek Market square during a People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) public meeting on Friday, July 24.

The Minister had recently visited the OLPF office where he indicated that a charade was put on for him to believe that persons were actually doing work when it was quite the opposite.

“When I went there everybody busy…somebody take out a file and say they working on a file. I asked what year on the file… she said 2013 and then I asked what year it is, she said 2015…it was a poppy show they put on for me.”

He pointed out too that during his visit, some startling discoveries were made, such as a full floor of laptops that could not be used because they were not functioning as a result of one wrong or another.

“When I went to the bottom floor of the building a whole lot of computers….they can’t use…The bulk of those laptop computers were useless and while some of them came as a gift, the bulk of them were paid for by your money.”



  1. They are cleaning up the waste and so called employees who are doing nothing and getting paid.This is the culture of some Guyana work ethics which they have been getting away with for so long. All these people blogging now chastising the current administration for cleaning up the corruption and waste.

    A full floor of non working laptops just like 40% of the fiber optics that went bad. Lawlessness all around. This is why Guyana is not moving forward because of the culture of ignorance of the mindset of so many people who have the same mentality like the ones who are blogging here. The current administration must continue to do the job of cleaning up the mess they inherited and bring Guyana back to a culture of structure, professionalism and hard working people.

  2. Garry you seems to have the mentality of a 6 year old. If you ever hear of Newton law ‘to ever action there is a equal and opposite reaction’ Once again to bring it to your level ask yourself these questions

    1. What is the current crime rate?
    2. What is the main cause of crime rate?

    UNEMPLOYMENT!!!! so do you things Harmon is making a wise decision. Crime going sky high will be the reaction of this government action

  3. Gary understanding public policy and gOvernment takes some doing. You see where politics becomes an catalyst then chaos is always the result.
    I am saying when a government wants to right a perceived wrong then the casualties are always the innocent.
    Give this thing some thought and behave responsible that is what the government needs to do.
    I have no problem with the government i appreciate and voted for this ..but the coalition has to be base on consensus. I see dominance and a political muscle man..;thats a fact.

  4. People Power, I share your perspective on this. Not only did he appear unprofessional and spiteful but he clearly lacks humility and as a guyanese citizen this type of behavior is of great concern to me. I support the new administration but not this type of behavior.

  5. It’s unfortunate that they had to lose their jobs, but he’s right. If they were just there being unproductive; how sad that the program was also a SHAM by the PPP, and although computers are a useful tool in today’s world, the purpose of the project under the PPP was nothing more than a feeble attempt to show they “were doing something” for the people. Let Jagdeo and Ramotar pay them for the time they were “working” for them.

  6. After the Hugh mess your ppp leave guyana in . And I mean absolutely broke while every member of the ppp is rich with the country money they thief. Of course through government has to make changes with the things they plan to do . Why don’t you try running your house with no money

  7. Harmon will be justified in firing the staff IF there was no work for them. However, his approach seemed unprofessional and comical. He went to the office a couple of days ago, but did not fire the employees. He then held a PNC rally at Stabroek where he informed the employees (I guess via the media) that they were canned. This sounds like a bottom-house cuss out. By the way, my 6-year old daughter can speak better English that this guy. He has risen to the level of his incompetence.

  8. What you want AFC to do?they have no voice,Nagga get Primeminister post and Harmon is calling the shots,he and Jattan sell out all of us for their own selfish,greed for power but they are only ass lickers sitting in their offices and collecting pay they have no voice and no SHAME.

  9. Carlton that may be so but the Government has to display tact and strategies to convert this weakness into strength.
    Harmon cant say i cant pay you for doing nothing.
    It appears that we are now paying him to do nothing. Thats not an option for me.
    A number of irresponsible statements.
    I like the guy but i have to call him out on this. He has to understand that he is not playing bald politics.
    You are creating more problems by irresponsibly trying to right wrong and it needs serious engagement of the coalition.

  10. Some parts of your comment make sense however other parts does not , what do you expect this new government to do just keep throwing taxpayers money down the shoot? What Harmon is doing is trying to make the wrong right unfortunately some people are getting caught in it and as such loosing their jobs. Some of you fail to see the situation the PPP has left behind leaves the new government no other choice. It is sad people are left with out an income ,this is part of the growing pain in getting the country back on track.

  11. How can the AFC sit and say nothing on these social genocide… What a sad day for these poor people whose family depend on them for food, what will they do now??? Hundreds of people lost their jobs under this new govt that we expect to see some positive change.

  12. The modus operandi of the current government seems to be unplanned canny and out of control. i think they are overwhelmed by the challenges of government and their inability to cope is getting the best of them.
    While the President is busy with weekly overseas engagement, Mr Harmon is left to carry the mantle of government and he is clearly not doing a good job, devoid of basic responses we see daily blunder after blunder.
    What amazes me more however in as much as i like many guyanese savour change,the composition of the supposedly change agents are quiet, amidst the slaughter of the poor people many of whom supported the change process.
    The AFC component that allowed for that change is unassumingly lost in its power overwhelming moment.
    What is AFC and Naga/Khem saying about this social genocide is anybodys guess.Firstly Nagas has taken on a decorative role and will have to be dusted off very often as is with the AFC.
    The OLPF may have been a charade and a front for deceptive undertakings when it was conceptualised, it however created employment for a number of persons majority of whom are supporters of the Coalition, and people who have no other source of income. Before Harmon jumped on the high pedestal and say that they are dealing with 2103 files in 2015 he should have asked the simple question, can these ppl be absorbed in other agencies? The security sector requires significant manpower at the IT level and most of these ppl have more than the basic knowledge to be absorbed. How can Harmon on one hand justify the laying off of these ppl and embraced an enormous government apparatchik and all these presidential advisors? It seems that the advice is simply devoid of substance and intellectual depth.
    I did not expect this level of irresponsibility from a Government that says it is for the ppl.
    AFC should savour the moment and show that it has weight in the decision making of the Coalition. From what i see the government will have to savour its electoral gains for the next 4 years and they will never be able to win the confidence of the ppl on any front racial or plural.
    The 100 days blunders have been rooted in revenge politics, it is not right and has no place in the making of a new Guyana. There are many issues that are more urgent but not given any major attention as is observed. CLICO, NIS, BERBICE BRIDGE.i
    I had a laugh no VAT Reduction No 12% for Public servants.

  13. What ahout the tens of thousands of other public servants collecting a salary and doing nothing?


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