The Guyana Public Service Union has begun its assessment of the Report on the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service. This was expressed by the President of the GPSU, Patrick Yarde, at a press conference on Tuesday at the union headquarters, Regent Street.
The Commission which was headed by Professor Harold Lutchman began its work in September 2015. The final report was presented to the Ministry of the Presidency on May 13, last. The other commissioners were Sandra Jones and Samuel Goolsarran.
The union head stated that thus far the union has very mixed views about the Lutchman Report. He noted too, that there are more negative views than positive views. The President cited that there are good recommendations and they will continue to examine the report in its entirety.
Two contentions which the union has thus far included in the insensitive approach to certain International Labour Organization conventions deal with stakeholders’ participation. According to Yarde, “The report only seems to recognize the GPSU role in collective bargaining.”
The GPSU President said that the report is critical of the GPSU nominees on the Public Service Commission. Yarde stated that the union has rejected this position. He noted that the union’s participation on the commission has been for four decades now.
He noted that the union’s representatives only occupied 33% of the commission and by virtue of that, did not have a controlling influence on the decisions made by the board.
Notwithstanding this, Yarde noted that the GPSU had recognized that the arrangement needed to be enhanced. He made representation to the government led by then Prime Minister Forbes Burnham for the creation of a Public Service Appellate Tribunal.
The government at the time had supported the recommendation, according to Yarde, and had procured its establishment. The Tribunal is a creature of the constitution with the power to review any decision of the commission. It is to be headed by a retired Appellate Judge.
Yarde intimated that “there are also views (of the report) which we endorse, and we wish they were more forceful in dealing with those views.” He noted that there are other issues which the report ought to have addressed but failed to do so.
Further Yarde stated, “Another critical part of the report which we see as a conflict; the commission said nothing about the chancellor being the head of the Judicial Service Commission.”
He acknowledged the wisdom behind having the chief justice and chancellor being on the commission; it ought not to be headed by the chancellor who is simultaneously the head of the judiciary.
Yarde intimated that the commission may defend its omission to address that issue by saying it was not part of their mandate. However, Yarde believes it was relevant since it is being attempted to have public servants who currently work within the judiciary to be transferred under the judicial service commission.
According to the GPSU President, the union is in the process of preparing a complete analysis of the report. This analysis, he says, will be shared with all the commissioners in fairness.
The union also intends to share their views with the public, since he recognizes that the union has such a policy to share its views and invite responses.
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