Employees contracted by Ministries are always a bone of contention each year when the estimates of the budget are scrutinized. This year the National Assembly was told that of the 14 employees of the Attorney General’s Chambers three will be paid in excess of $30.5M.
The total allocation for the 14 employees at the Attorney General’s Chambers which was approved in the House is $50.8M meaning that the 11 remaining employees, all of whom are at an Administrative level, will divide the remaining $20.3M.
The three contracted employees include a personal Assistant to Charles Ramson, the Minister of Legal Affairs, who told the House that he inherited that staffer, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and his deputy.
The trio, in 2009, was paid some $23.9M while the remaining staffers divided just over $19M.
The opposition parties have long chided the administration for its use of contracted employees at the various Ministries, the Office of the President, and the Office of the Prime Minister among other entities.
This year there has been no change as again there are numerous contracted employees on the payroll of these entities and as has been the case in the past receives the majority of the total wages and salaries allocated.
In the case of the Office of the President there are 67 employees slated for payment this year. Of these, 25 will be paid some $25.5M out of the $56.2M allocated for that section.
The remaining 42 staff members include three temporary, 17 semi- and unskilled operatives, nine clerical and office support as well as six technical and craft skilled.
Under Presidential Advisory (Cabinet and other services) there is a total of 138 employees of which 81 contracted employees will be receiving some $220M with the remaining 57 staffers to be paid some $24.8M.
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat employs some 20 employees, 13 of whom are contracted and will be paid some $16M out of the total allocation of $20.2M.
The situation is no different at the Finance Ministry Administration where 49 of the 115 staffers are contracted and will be paid $92.7M out of the allocation of $133.9M
The Government Accounting Administration at the Finance Ministry employs some 104 persons, 30 of which are contracted and will be paid $46.7M out of the $103M allocation for the payment of wages and salaries.
This trend continues throughout each of the government entities and the opposition parties have long argued that the designations should be filled by those employed as public servants and not by any special contract.
Leader of the Opposition Robert Corbin in a recent press briefing had supported Acting General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, Norris Witter, who had said that the use of contracted employees is a ploy to reward the party supporters.
According to Witter if one were to examine the salaries of the contracted employees they earn three to four times more than those in the public service.
“It (contracts) provide an opportunity for them to reward their supporters.”
Witter also posited that it is also a ploy used to undermine the Unions representing Public Service workers at the various Ministries.
In support of this argument Witter said that if an individual were to examine the trend over the years contracted employees are on the increase, “and when this happens public service employees decline.”
This, he said, presents a situation wherein if those employees were to be facing an injustice and the unions should seek to take action the numbers would be very few and as such render the unions ineffective.
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