Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill has clarified that Attorney-at-Law Amanza Walton-Desir was dismissed from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for dereliction of duty and not because of her political interests.
“There is no evidence of Ms. Desir being at work since the March 2 elections..,” said Minister Edghill, who has oversight responsibility for the GCAA. “To be off the job for months without leave being approved in itself is voluntary termination,” he added.
The Minister further explained that Walton-Desir was “was materially and physically involved” at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre throughout the entire period of the elections recount.
He presented a copy of a file detailing 25 entries of issues between the GCAA and the attorney during her time at the agency.
“You will discover that her tenure at the GCAA could be described as anything else except being productive and contributing to the success of this agency…. There [were] always issues about her absence from work, tardiness as it relates to her functions, not providing reports, going on oversees travels and not providing any report on her return from those travels.”
Minister Edghill also noted that Walton-Desir’s exchanges with the GCAA often dealt with disagreements over salary and clauses of contracts.
“Her employment at this agency was about money. The letters in her file, exchange of letters has always been about emoluments, terms and conditions of engagement, disagreement about whether she should be paid midpoint or maximum of the scale,” he said.
The Minister also noted that the attorney had her contract increased from three years to five years, which was beyond the time the GCAA could approve without reason or a Board decision.
Additionally, Walton-Desir appeared to have secured secondment to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) through the circumvention of the process that would facilitate such a decision. Letters were sent from the lawyer to then President David Granger for his intervention to ensure her secondment.
According to the Minister, that secondment was shot down and the GCAA made a unanimous decision on March 19, 2019.
Further rubbishing the Attorney’s claims that her termination was as a result of a political witch hunt, Minister Edghill said the GCAA was well within its legal right to end her tenure.
“In keeping with the conditions of the contract where either party may terminate, the Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority informed Ms. Desir that her contract has come to an end and her services are no longer required. This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of non-performance […] This is about someone who [has] been openly defiant to the Director-General and senior management of the GCAA. This is someone who because of their closeness with the then administration, believed that they had the right and the privilege to do as they wanted,” the Minister said.
“GCAA is still yet to produce work to show and to substantiate the benefits it garnered from this excessive renumeration package,” Minister Edghill added.
The attorney-at-law was paid a gross salary of $1.223 million per month and a $20,000 travel allowance. Though employed as a lawyer, a $50,000 technical allowance was granted, followed by an annual one-month’s salary leave passage allowance, and a 22.5 per cent gratuity every six months.
Further, the attorney received a $172,538 allowance as Project Manager of the Project Executing Unit of the National Aviation Master Plan for Guyana.
Walton-Desir was recently sworn in as Member of Parliament for the APNU+AFC. [Extracted and Modified from the Department of Public Information]