Teixeira insists removal of Permanent Secretary in line with Constitution

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Sherie Samantha Fedee

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira has affirmed that the termination of the services of Permanent Secretary, Sherie Samantha Fedee was done upon the instruction of President Irfaan Ali and in line with the Constitution of Guyana.

Teixeira made this statement in a letter addressed to Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) President Patrick Yarde who had written to her previously claiming that Fedee, who served as PS in the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, was wrongfully terminated.

Yarde, in his letter had called for Fedee to be reinstated. He had outlined that Fedee is a career public servant with over 25 years of unbroken service and who was confirmed in the position this year by the PSC.

However, Teixeira in response pointed out that the power to make appointments to the Office of Permanent Secretary and to remove from such Office, a person holding or acting in such Office, vests exclusively in the President, pursuant to Article 205 of the Constitution of Guyana.

“This power is exercisable by the President and is not subject to, any recommendation of, or consultation with, any Commission, including, the Public Service Commission, or indeed, any other person, body or authority,” Teixeira stated.

She also stated that Fedee will be offered a lateral position at the same terms and conditions, details of which are currently being worked out.

Following is Teixeira’s letter to the GPSU

RE: TERMINATION OF THE APPOINTMENT OF MS. SHERIE SAMANTHA FEDEE, PERMANENT SECRETARY

Your letter dated the 17th day of November 2020, refers.

Please be informed that my letter dated the 12th day of October 2020, to Ms. Sherie Samantha Fedee and its content was drawn and dispatched upon the instructions of His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

I am further advised that the power to make appointments to the Office of Permanent Secretary and to remove from such Office, a person holding or acting in such Office, vests exclusively in the President, pursuant to Article 205 of the Constitution of Guyana.

This power is exercisable by the President and is not subject to, any recommendation of, or consultation with, any Commission, including, the Public Service Commission, or indeed, any other person, body or authority.

In short, the Public Service Commission exercises no powers whatsoever over, or in relation to, a Permanent Secretary. Accordingly, the constitutional provisions to which you refer bear no relevance to the matter at hand.

The constitutional rationale for this power being vested exclusively in the President resides in Article 115 of the Constitution, which renders a Permanent Secretary subject to the direct and control of the President or a Minister appointed by the President.

I can neither explain, nor account for the manner in and the basis upon which Ms. Fedee was appointed or confirmed, as is alleged in your letter, since a different political dispensation obtained in Government at that time. The act of the Public Service Commission on September 15th, 2020 is null and void as it usurped the constitutional prerogative of the newly elected President.

In the circumstances, I reject every allegation of wrongdoing, unlawfulness and unconstitutionality contained in your letter.

Without prejudice to the above, Ms. Fedee will be offered a lateral position at the same terms and conditions. The matter is under active consideration by the Ministry of the Public Service to find a suitable position.

In closing, l also wish to put on record -and it would be remiss of me not to- regarding comments in your closing paragraphs with regards to my government, my observation (and that of thousands of other Guyanese), is that you, in your capacity as the head of the GPSU, were unusually silent on the termination of Permanent Secretaries and other senior public officers between May 2015 and March 2020.