Latest update March 26th, 2023 12:59 AM
Jul 16, 2016 News
Chairman of the Governing Board of Directors for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Rawle Lucas, is facing increasing pressure over a number of high-profile sackings and other decisions at that entity.
Yesterday, in a scathing criticism of the official, the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) said that staffers have become insecure and de-motivated because of the atmosphere. The union wants President David Granger to pay attention.
GRA is the body charged with tax collection for Government but there has been increasing pressure for better tax collection and management of the entity.
But the entity has been dogged by corruption allegations and other questionable practices.
A new Governing Board of Directors was named last year after David Granger came into office with Lucas, a business columnist, appointed Chairman.
However, three weeks ago, he came under searching questions after three senior officials were suddenly fired.
Among there were Head of Customs, Jameel Baksh, and Archana Joshi, who managed the Human Resources Division. Also sacked but not announced by the Chairman was Nityanand Narootandeo, a Manager (Ag) of the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID).
Baksh and Joshi were sacked because of poor performance in revenue collections.
However, there are questions about those reasons as Government announced recently that collections are up despite a drop in Value Added Tax (VAT) revenues. In any case, Joshi’s position had nothing to do with revenue collections.
Narootandeo had been the lead investigator in a major Customs racket at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. The rackets was busted in February and sometime during the investigations, Narootandeo was reportedly ordered off the probe.
The sackings of the three officials were blamed on a Board decision.
However, there is no evidence that the Board even met or knew of the decisions.
Yesterday, GPSU made it clear that it has noted the external interference of Lucas which has moved the environment of the organisation to a hostile and insecure one for staff at all levels evidently resulting in low morale and motivation.
“The Executive Council of the Guyana Public Service Union wishes to advise that the union is in support of its members of the Revenue Authority who are currently being confronted with unwarranted challenges,” the union said.
GPSU believed that the Chairman and the recent decisions “may be deemed excessive and above that authorized by Act No. 13 of the Revenue Authority Act 1996 Revised Edition 2004.”
As a matter of fact, there seems to be the continued culture of the past to effect promotions which disposed of experience and qualified staff, and to terminate and dismiss staff at will and without due process.
The union was also critical of statements made by Lucas that he hired an administrative assistant as he had little trust in GRA’s staffers.
“The union is also offended with the unfair categorization of the staff as being untrustworthy and apparently undermining authority and revenue targets, which by virtue of their employment are their fundamental roles.”
GPSU said that it felt compelled to bring the concerns to the attention of President Granger, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan and the Attorney General, Basil Williams.
“Staffers are assured that the union would stand resolutely with them throughout all challenges and excessive action being meted out arbitrarily and without merit. We, however, urged all staff to maintain their professionalism and to continue to deliver quality service to the public which enhances the image of the Revenue Authority in the national interest.”
In recent days, Lucas has been facing heavy criticism. Several letters to the editors and news items questioning his handling of GRA’s affairs have made the rounds.
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They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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This is a problem I always have with Trade Unions ……they wait and wait until the situation becomes untenable before they act.
surely members have been complaining to the union and seeking help, but what they do? …. wait and wait and wait !
It was common knowledge that all was not well with the new chairman and now that some damage has apparently been done, with trumpets blaring, enter the union!
I hope that the Ministry of the Presidency act without much delay and get matters on even acceptable operations.
It seems that the Union is turning a blind eye while blatant abuse of worker rights are violated. You are correct. The union is pussy footing both on appointments and dismissals. Their political appointments to public service jobs