More than six months after former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis, was sent on leave to facilitate a police investigation, he has been hired to head a special department to oversee foreign-funded projects, right in the same ministry.
His one-year contract takes effect from tomorrow with a salary of US$5,000 monthly, plus housing, phone and other allowances.
Police were carrying out investigations on monies spent by the New Guyana Marketing Corporation, an entity that falls under the Ministry of Agriculture. Several persons have been charged in connection with the matter.
According to documents seen by Kaieteur News, Jervis, a Permanent Secretary who served in consecutive administrations, was ordered by the Ministry of the Presidency to proceed on “all leave” with immediate effect on February 27, 2017.
On April 7, the Ministry of the Presidency again wrote Jervis advising him that the probe is still ongoing and that he is being sent on administrative leave.
In early May, the Permanent Secretary (ag), Ministry of Agriculture, Joylyn Nestor-Burrowes, requested approval for filling a vacant position- Director of the Agricultural Sector Development Sector Unit (ASDU).
That unit, established in 2007, was in charge of a number of projects from foreign funding, including the Farm Access Road Project; Agricultural Export Diversification Program; Bio Energy and improvement to access roads and bridges.
Several of the projects were completed.
Still ongoing are World Bank’s Flood Risk management Project, Cunha Canal Rehabilitation Project, and the hinterland agriculture development project.
There was no director in the unit after 2011.
In asking the Ministry of the Presidency to immediately fill the vacancy, the Agri. Ministry said that ASDU plays a critical role in managing government finance received from overseas donors and other financial institutions. “This can only be coordinated effectively and efficiently through a director or head of unit,” the ministry argued.
In late May, the Minister of Agriculture wrote the President, David Granger, recommending that Jervis be appointed director of ASDU, a unit he once overlooked.
However, in early July, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Service, Reginald Brotherson, refused to approve the hiring of a director and instead asked that the Agriculture Ministry use its available personnel.
On August 8, President Granger approved the temporary appointment of Jervis, pending the successful search for a qualified person.
Correspondences indicated that Jervis’ service as Permanent Secretary of the Agri. Ministry was to be “determined with effect from 31-08-2017, inclusive, and a new contract to be granted…”
On Tuesday, Jervis signed his contract.
In early March, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon announced the reassignment of several Permanent Secretaries, a move he said, is aimed at ensuring efficiency and accountability in the public service sector.
The reassignments have affected the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Legal Affairs, Public Health and the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport.
The Minister, who was particularly disappointed with budgeted spending, said that with effect from March 1, 2017, Ms. Joylyn Nestor Burrowes has taken up the post of Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, replacing Jervis, who along with the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Finance), Prema Roopnarine have been asked to proceed on leave.
Collette Adams appointed to serve as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health following the removal of former Permanent Secretary, Trevor Thomas.
Ms. Delma Nedd, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education was moved to the Ministry of Legal Affairs, while Alfred King, who was previously Permanent Secretary of the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, was relocated to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.
Vibert Welch, who served in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, had been moved to the Ministry of Education while Melissa Tucker, the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Legal Affairs was sent to the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport.
Former Head of the Works Services Group of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Mr. Geoffrey Vaughn has also been elevated to the position of Permanent Secretary for that Ministry, while Marlyn Stephens from the Public Service Commission has now been assigned to the Public/ Police Service Commission as the Secretary and Sophia Hunte is now the acting Secretary of the Teaching Service Commission.
The Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Social Protection, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Communities, Ministry of Business, Ministry of the Presidency, Department of Public Service and the Ministry of Public Telecommunications had all remain the same.
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