The political parties and coalitions which have traditionally administered Guyana have looked for the right persons in the wrong places. They have come into office and have tried to find competent persons from amongst their loyalists.
The PNC ruled Guyana for twenty-eight years. During that period, it pursued a deliberate strategy of dominating the administrative space in the country. It wanted its own supporters and loyalists in the critical posts within the public sector. It also began to stack the public service with party supporters, the only qualification for many being a party card for who they knew in the political directorate.
When the PNC jointed with the United Force in 1964, there were already persons sympathetic to the government in senior positions within the public sector. The PNC destroyed the credibility of many of those persons by turning them into political stooges and lackeys. Some of these persons went as far as defending the shameless rigging of the 1968 and 1973 elections. They were so blinded by their loyalty to the PNC that they could not see how the dishonest positions they took undermined whatever semblance of respect and professionalism they had left.
The PNC superseded many professionals with incompetent political hacks whose only qualifications were their political loyalty to the ruling party. Professionals within the public service who were bypassed for promotion or surpassed by political appointees migrated and kept their peace. Even now, they speak about their humiliations in private. They left Guyana because they could not stomach it anymore.
The PPP also did the same when it came into office in 1992 with a 60,000 majority. Many professionals left also during their time in power.
Change is inevitable whenever a new government takes office. But you do not throw out the baby with the bathwater. People can always be replaced, but the damage done to morale and professionalism cannot be undone.
APNU+AFC has dismissed or terminated the contracts of many persons since they came to office in May 2015. There have been cases of personal and political vindictiveness. The government has replaced those persons in most instances with loyalists. The problem is that many of those who have been given jobs are pushy people with assertive personalities, but who do not always have the talent for the specific job they have to undertake.
Some of the newbies are earning fortunes, but are inexperienced for the posts they hold. They are at sea on the job.
These political appointees have bypassed other persons who worked within the system and who were waiting for promotion. Instead, they are seeing a repeat of what the PPP did: put its own political appointees in office.
If this trend is not brought to an end, the exodus of skilled Guyanese will continue.
The government should not employ persons with limited experience to assume authority over skilled professionals who are qualified and experienced. Persons cannot be picked only for their trustworthiness. This is going to set this country back and demoralise the public service.
Donald Trump once advised that employers should examine what someone brings to the job. What were their achievements in the field in which they worked? And are they going to be able to replicate that success in their new job.
If someone has just a little experience and no great achievement in a particular field, then that person should not be given preference over someone with a solid track record of achievements and who is experienced.
Due diligence, even on loyalists, must be done. There are persons lining up for jobs with the new government. Some of them were living overseas. There should be a competitive process for filling vacancies. You cannot simply go around and appoint persons to positions. There is no guarantee that you will get the best person for the job this way.
There are a lot of fortune hunters out there looking to capitalize on the insecurity of the present government. Some of them are pushy and self-confident, but behind that veneer there is nothing but hot air. There is no talent and no expertise. The government has to beware of these types. Contaminating government with such individuals will lead the coalition down the same road to disaster as the PNC and the PPP governments of the past.
The only savior of Guyana.
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