Marshall rubbishes announcement of appointment of temporary workers
Member of Parliament for St Joseph Dale Marshall is likening the announcement by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that Government would appoint temporary workers to the collection of garbage by the state agency charged with that responsibility.
“To say in the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals that Government is going to appoint temporary officers is like putting in the budget that the Sanitation Service Authority did not collect garbage,” Marshall said Wednesday night in his contribution to the budget debate.
In his presentation to Parliament on Tuesday, Sinckler announced that Cabinet had approved a recommendation from a Working Committee led by the Ministry of the Civil Service to appoint thousands of temporary public officers with more than three years’ continuous service.
Lamenting that some public servants had been working for more than ten years without security of tenure, Sinckler told the Lower House the untenable situation had caused “tremendous discomfiture and disquiet among public servants”.
“This situation has put many of these individuals, their families and their livelihoods in a state of suspended animation as it is nearly impossible for any of them to plan out a secure future from a position of uncertainty.
“As such, few if any of them can plan for such things as educational advancement, mortgages or other types of financial loans to improve self or property, as financial institutions cite their unsecured employment status,” the minister told Parliament.
Sinckler also said the Committee would advise Cabinet on the procedure, methodology and legal requirements for the execution of a programme to facilitate the appointments.
However, Marshall argued that the appointments ought to be a function of the Ministry of the Civil Service and not part of the budgetary proposals.
“How is it that the carrying out of the day-to-day duties of the Ministry of the Public Service makes its way into a budgetary proposal? Public officers who are acting in posts should be appointed. The former Prime Minister now deceased, David Thompson, in October of 2007 speaking at a meeting of Democratic Labour Party members in Toronto, Canada, promised that he would do just that,” he said.
The Opposition parliamentarian explained that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur had enacted legislation making it mandatory for people acting for three years to be appointed.
All that was left to be done, he contended, was for the relevant ministry to implement the Act.
“The legislation stated that a person who was acting for three years as at the date of the Act was entitled to be appointed. Section 13 (11) of the Act went on to say that no post in the public service could be left vacant for more than a year except it received the fiat of the Governor General. The Ministry of the Public Service in terms of its ordinary day-to-day duties is to see to it that the workers of Barbados are treated fairly in accordance with law and that their dreams and aspirations in terms of their employment and job security and job opportunities are realized.
“It [Sinckler’s announcement] means nothing because you have a whole ministry that is established to do it. So what next? In next year’s budget are we going to see a proposal which says that nurses shall give injections? How ridiculous are you going to get? So that is warmed over and quite trifling,” Marshall said.