May 04, 2013 News
– says it is an option offered
Government has defended its practice of hiring contract workers in the public service. He described the practice as one which gives those workers more choices.
President Donald Ramotar said that the Opposition had been labouring under the misconception that contract workers are paid super salaries.
This issue came up last year during the National Budget considerations and again featured in the line of questioning by the Opposition’s Members of Parliament (MPs).
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the Opposition have been arguing that contracts were issued to mainly friends and other party supporters who were placed in lucrative jobs at the various ministries and even at Office of the President.
This year again, during the consideration of the budget in the National Assembly, MPs were relentless in their questions about contract workers. Salary scales in the public service were compared to what the contract workers were receiving as ministries and other government agencies were examined in detail.
There were not many variations except perhaps one employee at the Ministry of Legal Affairs who was said to be paid over $1M for performing three functions.
Last year, AFC MP, Moses Nagamootoo, likened contracted Presidential Advisors at the Office of the President to “fat cats”.
It was disclosed that Press Undersecretary, Mahendra Roopnarine, earns $395,000 per month while controversial President’s Information Liaison Officer, Kwame McCoy, was taking in $334,850.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon, was listed as being paid a salary of $895,326 while his Deputy, Hydar Ally, $550,064.
Office of the President also paid the son of former Attorney General, Charles Ramson, $430,196 for the position of Technical Legal Director.
The late Reepu Daman Persaud was listed on June payroll for OP as receiving $412,320 for his services as an Advisor to the President while former Regional Chairman for Region Six, Zulfikar Mustapha earned for himself as Head, Community Relations Liaison Officer some $307,600.
Presidential Advisor Gail Teixeira was taking home $967,985, a salary greater than her boss Dr. Roger Luncheon.
GPSU itself said that the use of contract workers in the public service is a deliberate ploy by government to erode the strength of the unions.
Last week, the President insisted that it is a fact that every society always fights to give people more choices.
He explained that the contract workers include drivers and a host of other workers who took that option.
“But what Government has been doing is, they have been giving people a choice that when they come to work with the government, they can either go into their public service establishment or they can opt for a contract.”
The President found it strange that the Opposition would want to reduce these choices by the workers.
The Head of State stressed that the salaries granted to contract workers and the normal civil servants are comparable.
He also believed that the Opposition is more “educated” now than last year, following the explanations given by Government Ministers in the National Assembly.
Last year, government spent $6.2B on contracted employees. It has allocated $7.8B this year, signaling an increase in the number of contracted workers.
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