Solicitor General, Sita Ramlall has advocated for improved salary structures, particularly in the professional arm of the Attorney General’s (AG) Chambers.
Ramlall was at the time making a presentation before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the affairs of the Public Service Sector, which ended last Thursday.
The Commission was established to inquire into, report on, and make recommendations on the role, functions, recruitment process, remuneration, conditions and other matters pertaining to the personnel employed in the Guyana Public Service.
The inquiry was slated to conduct a detailed examination of how the salaries and wages of public servants are determined and allocated; review the age of public servant retirement and make recommendations in this regard.
It is part of a plan to support President Granger’s vision for a modern public service and the establishment of a Public Service Staff College.
During her brief address, the former Registrar of the Supreme Court spoke in accordance with the terms of reference outlined by the committee, placing specific emphasis on the need for better salary structure for those who provide services to and on behalf of the State.
Ramlall detailed to Commissioners Harold Lutchman Sandra Jones and Samuel Goolsaran the functions of the AG’s Chambers.
She said that the office was established to ensure that proper legal services are provided to the Government and to provide statutory services to the public relating to the public trust and other matters as required by the law.
Noting the disparity between those employed by the State and legal officers (lawyers) employed in the Magistracy, the Solicitor General called on the Commission to examine the salary structure of professionals attached to the Attorney General and the office of Director of Public Prosecutor’s (DPP) Chambers.
“There is no relativity as it obtains to the legal officers providing those functions as compared to their colleagues in the Magistracy,” Ramlall said as she explained that prior to the 1990’s there was relativity. She said that there was subsequent revision of salaries for the Magistrates but none was done for the other legal professionals in the public service.
The official further held that the issue has had a very negative impact on people, who have joined the profession and opted to work for the State (AG) rather than embark on private practice, only to learn that their colleagues in the Magistracy earn far more.
The Solicitor General said that the situation can be disenchanting to the professionals employed by the Chambers. As such, she noted that consideration should be given to the review of the salary structure across all the government circles.
The witness briefly commented on the need for de-bunching of the remuneration package for those in the office of the AG.
She said that it can be a demoralizing situation, where persons employed at the Chambers a number of years are forced to accept the same salary as a new employee.
During the presentation, the Solicitor General also told the Commission that while promotion is limited due to the number of positions available in this section of service, performance should be vital to any level of promotion in the Public Sector.
She noted the longevity should not trump competence. Ramlall is of the view that there should be an appraisal system, training and rotation of staff members in the various State agencies for civil workers to gain experience in the various aspects of work in the Public service.
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