…deems Greene’s conduct “unprofessional”
Two days after Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) head Ann Greene received a letter sending her on leave from tomorrow, the Social Protection Ministry has denied that the decision was fuelled by a heated argument between Greene and Minister within the Ministry, Simona Broomes.
Instead, the Ministry said, the decision was forced after Greene exhibited “grossly unprofessional behaviour, constituting insubordination and contempt.
Greene was the sole participant in any heated exchange, the release said.
But Ms. Greene has denied the accusations. She said that the issue dated back to the women’s forum when Ms. Broomes reportedly said that the only good thing to come out of the Child Care Unit was the paint on the building.
Greene said that both hurt and embarrassed the staff to the extent that when Ms Broomes andMinister Volda Lawrence visited the Ministry she asked that they “get the elephant out of the room.” She said that it was her way of saying that an apology was needed for the comment Broomes had made on the campaign trail.
The apology was not forthcoming and she kept insisting. She said that her insistence might have been mistaken for arrogance but it was not.
The Ministry explained that familiarisation tours of the Ministry and its various departments were taken on May 25 and May 27 respectively. During the tours, Ministry Head Volda Lawrence and Minister Broomes were introduced to the various department heads and staffers.
All seemed well; that is, until a tour was conducted at the CC&PA. The Ministry said that at the agency, Greene refused to acknowledge Broome’s presence, instead only introducing Minister Lawrence to her staff.
A later meeting went no better. “At a subsequent meeting Ms. Greene conducted herself with hostility, boisterously, belligerently and in a disrespectful manner towards Minister Broomes in the presence of Minister Lawrence, the Permanent Secretary and other staff members,” the Ministry said. It went on to state that Lawrence was “forced to caution and reprimand” Greene for her “unprofessional and disrespectful conduct”.
In turn, Greene allegedly declared, “loudly and aggressively”, her unwillingness to work along with Broomes unless certain demands were met. The Ministry added that Greene’s behaviour was in full view of Ministry staff.
“At no time did Minister Broomes engage in any confrontation with Ms. Greene,” the Ministry emphasised.
It continued, “As a result of Ms. Greene’s unprofessional behaviour, Minister Lawrence was left with no other option than to send her on annual leave for a period of 36 days.”
The Ministry maintained that both of its Ministers assumed their responsibilities in good faith and with the aim of working harmoniously with all staff at the Ministry in service to Guyanese, particularly women, children and the vulnerable and abused.
Lawrence also expressed hope that Greene would reflect upon what happened and would make every effort to “improve the manner in which she relates to her staff and the Ministers with whom she will have to collaborate.”
“Early sign of intolerance”
But the Guyana Trades Union Council (GTUC) has said that the decision to send Greene on leave was an “early sign of intolerance”.
The body also urged the “tempering of arrogance” since the decision only conveyed disregard for those perceived to be on a lesser level of authority.
In a statement issued by the GTUC, the body said the incident raised “serious concerns” and showed an inability to adequately respond to and resolve industrial conflict within the Ministry.
“This recent development raises serious concerns in the GTUC over the nature of the industrial environment that will be cultivated,” the GTUC said. It went on, “Whereas it is important that functional superiors show authority, this must be exercised judiciously, respecting the rights of each employee to due process which includes the right to defence.”
The body noted that it was only a few weeks ago when the now Ministers took to the campaign trail and promised a different and better administration. Furthermore, the GTUC emphasised that better administration was not limited to the areas of corruption and marginalisation but also extended to the ability to manage industrial practices.
“Indiscriminate practices by the political directorate of the coalition will not be given a pass for where such behaviours were considered wrong under the PPP; they cannot now be acceptable under the APNU+AFC,” the GTUC emphasised.
It continued, “Ministers are reminded that their actions determine how persons perceive their ability to exercise stewardship of the Ministry under their portfolio and may unfortunately result in an unfair labeling of the entire new administration…of further concern is that an ill managed industrial climate and poor relations are likely to impact the quality of service provided by this Ministry.”
The GTUC further said that the exchange with Greene is “ominous”, particularly in regard to future issues that may arise. The body reiterated that disputes and grievances are inevitable and would therefore require skills, tolerance and “an ability to hammer out positions that will result in fair resolve of issues”.
According to reports, Greene’s displeasure with Broomes stemmed from harsh statements made by the latter while on the campaign trail. During a rally, Broomes had opined that the best thing coming out of the CC&PA had been the paint on its walls. Greene reportedly confronted the Minister about the statement and demanded an apology for it. Greene had been the Head of the agency for several years.
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