Sometimes you have to ask yourself whether senior government officials live in ivory towers. You want to know whether they have lost touch with the common man. You want to plead with them to come out of their offices and feel the pain that is out there.
People are hurting in this country. A new entrant to Guyana’s public service wrote a letter in the Kaieteur News of last Friday expressing her hurt at not being eligible for the announced increases in public service wage increases because she was not employed until February. If she had nailed the job two months earlier, she would have been entitled.
The government should not be doing these things. Jagdeo would never have done that. He would have sat down and found the money to pay all the workers a retroactive increase. He did it for all the years he was President.
There is no reason for the government to be getting technical when it comes to wage increases. It is not as if they are paying people a fortune. An eight percent increase on the minimum wage does not add up to much. So it is not as if the government is paying a jewel and crown. Why therefore not pay everyone who works in the public service the increase? Why stipulate that those who were employed in 2017 are not eligible? If this is true something is radically wrong.
Which government waits until December to announce that they will laying off workers in the sugar industry? How these workers are going to enjoy the Christmas season, knowing that at the end of the holidays, their pains will increase; bread will be taken out of their mouths.
Government ministers need to walk the streets and talk to the common man. They need to come down to the level of the people and understand what is happening in this economy.
There are persons who are being employed in the government. They are coming out of school with passes in their examinations. So why is it that they now have to be retrained for one year before they can get an entry level job in the government? All those subjects that those young people wrote do not count for art because they still have to go to a public service training institute to be trained, for one year, guess at whose expense?
If someone has the relevant academic subjects, they should be put to work. This idea of having them trained for one year sounds a bit like a return to the days when office workers used to have to be trained at ideological colleges, forced to go and do manual labour and participate in political events.
Why should any ambitious young person want to waste a whole year being trained to work in the public service, when for years young people have been coming off the streets and taking up public service appointments without any problems? The work there is not rocket science.
There are many young persons who are finding jobs within the government. Yet there are others who claim to be more qualified who are saying that they are not finding the jobs. Part of the problem is that the government is lowering the bar.
There was a time when you had to have five subjects, including Mathematics and English, at one sitting, before you could get a job in the government. Then the bar dropped and persons with four subjects were being allowed to advertise. So it was possible for someone with four subjects to come out with a job while the one with ten did not get it because the extra subjects which were done did not count for any extra score in the interviewing process.
No person should be accepted in the public service unless they have five subjects at one sitting, including Mathematics and English. We need to raise standards in Guyana not lower them.
The University of Guyana needs to upgrade itself. It should do like the University of the West Indies and only accept persons with A level passes. This will solve a lot of the university’s problems. You will have a smaller university with better students.
But we are going backwards in Guyana because people are living in ivory towers. They should come down to the level of the people and feel their pain and understand that the good life is far from here.
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