The Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) has found it alarming that important constitutional Commissions are still currently inactive.
The Commissions that the GTUC noted as being inactive are the Public Service Commission, the Public Service Appellate Tribunal and the Police Service Commission.
According to the GTUC, these constitutional bodies are responsible for the appointment of Public Servants and Police Officers as well as addressing their respective grievances.
“These institutions are constitutionally mandated and the failure to institute these constitutional offices speaks to a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Guyana that the President, the Members of his Cabinet and all Parliamentarians have a duty to and have sworn to uphold. All Members of Parliament are held accountable as are the President and his cabinet,” said the GTUC in a recent press statement.
The GTUC expressed that it is alarmed at the disregard shown for establishing these bodies and the resultant impact of not having these Commissions in place, since according to them, “many workers are denied the opportunity to be appointed positions they have been acting in.”
The GTUC further outlined that “workers continue to receive inappropriate remuneration for the jobs they do and are also denied the right to a hearing by the Public Service Appellate Tribunal in matters of discipline. This violates a fundamental right of workers and undermines democracy.”
As such the GTUC pronounced that “government continues to ignore their role and responsibility in ensuring good governance and accountability. They continue to undermine the pillars of democracy and good governance by ignoring and failing to put in place structures mandated by the Constitution to enable this and to help them satisfy the needs of various sectors of society.”
Speaking to the inactive Commissions, the GTUC is calling on the “President, Leader of the Government Business in the National Assembly and the Leader of the Opposition to put in place without delay, mechanisms for the appointment of these three Commissions.”
That being said, the GTUC also posited on a different note “government’s acceptance to put mechanism in place to move closer to an independent judiciary, where money will now be directly drawn [from] the Consolidated Fund and will now become law with assent of the 2014 Appropriation Bill (Budget)”.
The GTUC cited that the “realization of the financial restructuring came as a result of the opposition’s activism in the House.”
According to the GTUC, this marks another milestone in the nation’s development as “we move to strengthen and give true meaning to the independence (and checks and balances) of the three branches of government. This accomplishment also informs of the opposition’s capability to oversee and ensure adherence to the Constitution.”
Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, during consideration for the estimates for the Ministry of Legal Affairs, with specific reference to the Supreme Court, amended the Budget Document so as to collapse all of the allocations for that body so that it will be given as a lump sum.
This would see the allocations for the Supreme Court for the first time being able to determine on its own how it wants to spend its money in keeping with the Constitution.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman had hailed the move by Government and reminded the House that the Constitution makes this demand in order to ensure the independence of the Judiciary.
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