Holder slams Gov’t on appointments
Hours after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart pointed to public servants being “stuck” in acting positions as the reason for Government’s decision to appoint them, Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate Arthur Holder queried why it took so long.
During the presentation of the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals last Tuesday, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced that all eligible public servants in acting positions would shortly be appointed to their posts.
Against this background, Stuart Sunday spoke about the “uncertainty which bedevils the lives of many officers who have been working for years but are not yet appointed”.
He told those attending the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) 61st Annual Conference that the uncertainty “has produced unacceptable levels of alienation, frustration, insecurity and, in some cases, plain disillusionment”.
“Their lives have been put basically on hold, since they can transact no business that partakes of other than the very short term and their hopes of upward mobility are cheated of fulfillment.
“These workers have the same dreams, the same hopes, the same aspirations as those who are appointed. They certainly have the same domestic and familial obligations, but they are stuck in the system with prospects of forward or upward movement depending on circumstances beyond their direct control,” he said.
Stuart, who has responsibility for the Public Service, said the appointment of public officers who have been continuously employed in temporary positions for three years or more, would come at no additional wage cost “since these officers are already going to work every day and are already being paid”.
However, in an address at a BLP St Michael West branch meeting Sunday night, Holder cited a 2007 law that would have enabled the appointments, and accused Government of ignoring public workers for several years.
He quoted from Section 13, Sub-Sections 5 and 7 of the Public Service Act, 2007, which make it clear that officers in acting positions no less than three years prior to the date of the Act, December 31, 2007, shall be appointed.
“It has taken them eight years to speak to this piece of legislation . . . Why now?” Holder asked.
“This is the law. Sinckler ain’t change nothing, ain’t do nothing. All that he has done is ensure that he [took] eight years to do it. Why it [took him] eight years to do?”
The BLP’s St Michael Central candidate recalled that his party was “lambasted for bringing this piece of legislation in December 2007”, with the then Opposition DLP saying it was a ploy to appoint people just before an election.
“But it is strikingly strange that, eight years thereafter, this same piece of legislation the Democratic Labour Party is now trying to utilize as though it is theirs, they heralded it, and they should be complimented for it,” Holder said.