Contract workers become political stooges to survive the life term of their contracts
The politically appointed squadron of contract workers has rendered re-organisation of the public service in Guyana ineffective as these contract workers serve at the pleasure of their respective ministers not necessarily in the interest of the state as their security of tenure is non-existent.
The PPP is increasingly replacing civil servants with contract workers and such a system compromises the institutional capacity of the state as core competencies are not being developed for the long term. This is a revolving door strategy that has destroyed the public service.
It is this type of public service that procures for the government some 100 contract workers on the protest line for their political masters during the 2012 budget debate.
Prominent among the protestors was Guyana’s chief diplomat Elizabeth Harper, Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One is no longer at a loss as to why Guyana is where it is with its diplomatic relations. The reason for this protest is at best questionable when it was the AFC that advocated for a 20 percent wage increase for the workers, while the PPP government only offered 8 percent in 2011.
The AFC has committed to advocating for a cadre of qualified and experienced workers in the public service and putting an end to this political machinery of contract workers that the PPP government is exploiting. This leaves room for highly skilled technocrats to be engaged in contracts because of their niche skill-sets while the drivers and accounts clerks on contract can secure permanent jobs within the establishment as public servants at a living wage.
If one is to look at the table below carefully, a contract worker is rendered into a political stooge of the Minister if that person wants to survive the life of their contract, while a public servant has the ability to have security of tenure and independence from political instruction
It is clearly a case of “champagne socialism” at its best in Guyana, with the PPP interested only in the uses of the working class but not in the working class itself. The action by the Public Service Ministry to hire some 6,000 contract workers is an abuse of the letter and spirit of what contract employment ought to be in the State sector.
Public servants do not have to accept “crumbs” from the PPP “prince-lings” who continue to rape the treasury for their multi-million dollar mansions and luxury assets, a dichotomy singled out by Mrs. Nadira Jagan, daughter of the founders of the party to the ire of the PPP cabal. The PPP has skillfully contrived to mask their surgical deflowering of the public service as they prepare to devour it. The said PPP told public servants that the government can ill afford higher wages as they rolled out an annual menu of 5 percent wage increases.
Yet, this said PPP government in the last 10 years has found a treasure pot to pay for all the pet “fetishes” of the political elite such as the billions of dollars in travel expenses for former President Jagdeo on his “air miles to nowhere” and to pay for its foolish economic blunderings such as the production retardation at the Skeldon Factory, saddling the taxpayers with a price tag of
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$40 billion dollars. It has also over the years found monies to pay its unqualified political favourites in sinecure super salaried appointments of $700,000 and $800,000 per month plus fringe benefits. It also found $10,000 to $15,000 US dollar per month tax free for nepotistic appointments for loyal expatriates who further the political cause of the government.
The Guyanese people are not dense. They are furious and are anxious to be rescued from this squanderous cabal.
So what we are observing from the PPP today on the streets is more fear mongering and pure political pomposity; their obvious forte.
Public Servant vs. Contracted Employee
|Issue||Public Servant||Contract Worker|
|1||Right to Hire||The Public Service Commission (PSC), a body of 6 persons, (3 person nominated by the minority leader and 3 other by other means including the trade union bodies that represent public officers)||The Minister, a politician|
|2||Right to Fire / Appeal Decision||The PSC after conducting a detailed hearing with the public servant in question having the right to be heard and an option for an appeal of the decision with the Public Service Appellate Tribunal||The Minister with no official mechanism to be heard and no option to appeal the decision of the Minister|
|3||Who confirms this person into a role in the Official Employment Establishment||The PSC||A Contract Worker can never take an official place on the Official role in the Public Service Establishment but literally squats in a vacant position in the Public Service|
|4||Benefits||State Pension once they meet basic criteria for the rest of their lives on top of the Old Age Pension, Training, etc||Gratuity Allowance while employed but once the contract comes to an end, no benefits|