Feb 24, 2019 News
Presidential Candidate of the Liberty and Justice Party (L&JP), Lenox Shuman, says he will support an investigation into the hiring practices of the public service.
A former Vice Chairman of the National Toshaos Council, Shuman also believed that
Bertram Collins College of the Public Service should be scrapped as it limits the nation’s development.
The Presidential Candidate was responding to a recent report in Kaieteur News which spoke of the problems facing the college.
Since its launching after the Coalition Government took office in 2015, the college has not been doing so well in attracting a diverse group of students.
Rather, for the last three batches, the students were mostly Afro-Guyanese…about 85 percent of them were, says the college’s Senior Director, Lawrence Paul.
The figures appeared to have raised eyebrows as to how genuine the Government is with regards to restructuring the troubled public service.
For years, poor service, pay and failure to attract a diverse work force have been dogging the public service.
The college was a brainchild of President David Granger to fix the problems, by providing training for especially entrance level workers
Over the weekend, Shuman said that a comprehensive evaluation is needed for the public service.
“I do believe the college should be done away with. It is a limiting factor in our nation’s development. Were we to transform it into a meritocracy, it would not confine our people to a ceiling of achievement. I would support an investigation and a comprehensive evaluation of the hiring practices that have plagued our public service sector.
“Based on those evaluations and recommendations and international best practices, we can restructure as needed.”
He believed that there is a need for Government to move away from the “militaristic” style of management.
“Having a well-funded, empowered and strong Ombudsman’s office that has a constitutional mandate that reports directly to Parliament and a Tribunal with authority to prosecute people who violates the governance of these institutions, should help to solve these issues. I do believe there is no place in this nation for Party Paramountcy.”
According to the Amerindian leader, if Guyana wants to foster an inclusive society that attends to the people’s needs, there should be no discussion on race in relation to employment.
“It should be based on merit and gender balance. This would be more indicative of progress as a nation. To insert race into every formula feeds ethnic chauvinism.
“In satisfying Article 27 of the Constitution, the matter of race, power and emolument would be a baseless argument. Such issues arise out of ignorance and are fed by politicians of the old dynasties to prop up their bases. We need to transform this nation into a meritocracy.”
According to Shuman, all employment to the public service should be an objective exercise. “Firstly, there should be minimum standards that apply to each job. Secondly, there should be training and a level of competence and lastly…decentralisation.
“With an objective evaluation process and decentralization, the public service needs should be addressed in the most comprehensive manner.”
In 2015, the Coalition Government entered office, and announced that one of its priorities would be the restructuring of the public service.
Overwhelmingly, the public service was seen as a mere starting point into the world of work. And like the police and army, it was overwhelmingly Afro-Guyanese.
The College of the Public Service was established at Ogle, where the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) was once headquartered. It was intended to create a professional public servant.
The college does not only provide training for current public servants, but also caters to school-leavers who are interested in pursuing a career there.
The college has taken in over 160 students since its inception and, of that lot, most are Afro-Guyanese.
Paul had said that in the first batch, only 16 percent of the students were not Afro-Guyanese, while, in the second and current batches, the percentages were 17 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
He said that, in some situations, “It is very hard to determine one’s ethnicity, from a layman’s point of view.”
However, he noted that the lack of diversity is a concern to the college.
The college, according to Paul, has 31 staff members, nine external lecturers and four permanent lecturers.
Paul told Kaieteur News that the advertisement programme is very rigorous, with advertisements being placed on a wide range of platforms.
The college, he said, also makes a special effort to advertise in hinterland areas, so that Indigenous youths are also informed about the opportunities the college offers them.
He said that successful graduands, which are 99-100 percent of each batch, are placed on Level Three of the public service staff structure.
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