Dec 23, 2017 Letters
Dear Mr. President (“thru” The Editor)
Scrap metal dealers are pleading with you to ensure that someone who is ‘Fit and Proper” be appointed to manage the scrap metal trade in Guyana.
Mr. Ian Smith, the newly appointed Head of the Scrap Metal Unit does not have any experience in the scrap metal trade, and is not capable of managing this industry, that thousands of our people depend on for a living.
Mr. Neilson McKenzie was managing the scrap metal trade from February 2017 up until August 2017 when he was interdicted from duty.
When Mr. McKenzie started his employment at the Ministry of Business in 2016, he told other staff members that he really wanted to go to Law School to pursue studies in Law, but that he could not afford it.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Mckenzie was handing out his business cards with the credentials LLB, LLM behind his name. Because of his credential, he was tasked with the responsibility of preparing new legislation for the scrap metal trade by the Minister. What he prepared as the Scrap Metal Bill which is presently before Cabinet for consideration is a “Bundle of Nonsense “and will have to be redone because the scrap metal trade cannot be conducted within the scope of that proposed legislation.
Mr. McKenzie was demanding several millions of dollars from scrap metal dealers for permits to export scrap metal. We reported the matter to the Minister and he responded by closing down the trade.
Anyhow, the three months opening permitted by Cabinet, was up at the same time. After the closure, Mr. McKenzie continued to sell more permits to export. He was caught, the police were called in and he is presently on bail and interdicted from duty.
Before Mr. McKenzie started his employment at the Ministry of Business, he was working at ‘Hits and Jams’. He was caught on video tape doing something and was immediately fired.
In February 2017, the Ministry of Business advertised the vacancy for the Head of the Scrap Metal Unit. The required qualification was a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration or Public Management with at least eight years experience in a Senior Managerial position. The Minister set up a committee to find a “Fit and Proper” candidate for the job. Over fifty persons with Bachelor’s degree and ten with Master’s Degree applied for the job.
Interviews were held and a few names were shortlisted and submitted to the Minister for consideration. However, in July 2017, the Minister employed Mr. Ian Smith to head the Scrap Metal Unit. Mr. Smith never submitted an application for the job, nor was he interviewed by the committee.
When Mr. Ian Smith started out at the Ministry of Business, he told staff members that he has a “Diploma from the University of Guyana”. On his “Linkedln” page, for his qualification, he stated Penn Foster, 2012-2016, no stated credentials whatsoever. Penn Foster only offers unaccredited online courses.
For his experience, he stated only the time he was appointed Head of the Scrap Metal Unit, September 2017. Our investigations revealed that Mr. Ian Smith never graduated from Penn Foster in 2016 nor did he successfully complete High School in Guyana and he has no managerial experience.
Sir, we have nothing personal against Mr. Smith but from his performance at the Ministry and his interaction with scrap metal dealers, we are convinced that Mr. Ian Smith is not capable of managing the scrap metal trade in Guyana and we will continue to suffer as long as he is the Head of the Unit.
Among the numerous qualified applicants who applied for the job, we know of the following:
1. Ms. Oslyn Armstrong — She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management and is employed for several years in a senior position in the Public Service. She was the Special Assistant to former Prime Minister, Mr. Sam Hinds, and was the Head of the Scrap Metal Unit for several years under him. She is presently the Special Assistant to the Hon. Ms. Annette Ferguson, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
2. Ms. Christina Harding has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management. She worked as the Administrative Assistant at the Guyana Metal Recyclers Association for over seven years. She is extremely knowledgeable in the scrap metal trade.
3. Mr. Michael Burnett — Mr. Burnett has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a JD Degree in Law. He is a U.S Attorney, who now resides in Guyana for the last seven years. He personally exported scrap metal from Guyana in the past and has worked closely with the Guyana Metal Recyclers Association since his return to Guyana. Because of his extensive knowledge on the scrap metal industry worldwide, Mr. Burnett is considered a world expert in this business. Mr. Burnett is personally known to the following cabinet members, Hon. Mr. Basil Williams, Hon. Mr. David Patterson, Hon. Mr. Raphael Trotman, Hon. Mr. Joseph Harmon and Hon. Ms. Cathy Hughes.
Your Excellency, as our President, and The Conscience of this Nation, we are pleading with you to ensure that someone, anyone who is qualified, “Fit and Proper” be appointed to manage the scrap metal trade.
Mr. Smith has no experience in the trade, is not qualified and is not capable of moving this trade forward and this entire industry will continue to suffer as long as he is the Head of the Unit.
With all best wishes
Name not stated
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