Aug 11, 2020 News Comments Off on Min. of Communities paid hundreds of millions to over 50 contract workers – Minister Dharamlall
No proof of work done…
By Shikema Dey
The then Ministry of Communities with Minister Ronald Bulkan at the helm expended over $800 million in salaries to 56 contract staffers with no evidence found by the new administration to account for their work since 2015.
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall made that disclosure yesterday during his first press engagement at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre after a review of the records was conducted.
“We found that in the Minister’s Secretariat of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, 23 staff were earning as much as, in total per month, $7.73M,” he told the press.
Among those staffers, he said, were political appointees of the previous A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration.
“From our records in the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development,” the Minister added “we have been unable to verify and validate the performance of these staff because there is no record of their work, no documentation of their performance.”
Since the new People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government took office a week ago, none of the 56 staffers have shown up to work. The Minister pointed out that one Special Ministerial Advisor on Local Government, Oscar Clarke was earning $418,674 per month; a non taxable duty allowance of $25,000 per month and a telephone allowance of $15,000 per month. Clarke is a veteran member of the People’s National Congress and a representative of APNU on the Georgetown City Council.“Since we have taken office,” the Local Government Minister said, “we have not seen him and from the reports we have received, is that this individual turned up to work three half days per week earning this monumental…almost when you add it all up, possibly close to half a million per month,”
Reference was also made to another Special Advisor, Rupert Hopkinson, who was earning $376,807 per month with a non-taxable allowance of $70,000 per month and a telephone allowance of $10,000 per month. Hopkinson was a former REO for Region 2.
He also pointed out that Minister Bulkan also boasted of two other Advisors; Carmichael Thorne and Samuel Paris. Thorne was earning $488,250 per month plus $30,000 per month in non-taxable allowances, and telephone as well as a travel allowance of $20,000 per month.
“That is over $500,000 per month. And we have no record of any of the work they would’ve done,” the Minister said.He noted that these are persons whose contracts were renewed even after the passage of the December 2018 No-Confidence Motion and renewed for a substantial period so their contracts are still in effect.
“The fact that they have not yet turned up to work means that they are in terrible breach of their contracts,” he added.The Local Government Minister revealed that with many of the names found are “political operatives” of the APNU+AFC employed within the Community Councils Department. A total of 36 persons were found.
“They are apparently stationed in the Regions and when I spoke to the REO’s, they themselves were not supervising these individuals,” Minister Dharamlall said.He pointed to former Member of Parliament of the APNU+AFC in Region 6, Barbra Pilgrim who was being paid $210,982 per month, a non-taxable allowance of $10,000 per month and a telephone allowance of $10,000 per month.
Also on the list were Simpson DaSilva, Manbodh Rahaman, Daryl Khan, Latchmin Azeez, Carol Nurse, and Ganesh Mahipaul who served as an APNU+AFC Counting Agent during the National Recount process.Minister Dharamlall revealed, “Mahipaul is on the payroll, assigned to the Regional Democratic Council of Region 3 earning a salary as a Community Development Officer and contracted since August 1, 2015 earning a salary of $210,982 per month with a non-taxable duty allowance per month.”
Between the Community Development Council (CDC), and former Minister Ronald Bulkan’s Secretariat, the Minister said, the payroll was approximately $13.5 million per month.“In five years, $13.5 per month; that is supposed to work out to about $160 million dollars per year, on average… By five years, that is over $800 million dollars that these 56 persons have earned on the backs of taxpayers without evidence of their effort,” Dharamlall added.
The new minister made it clear that every employee will be held accountable as they address the matter on a case by case basis.
“The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development,” he said “will ensure that as we go forward, that everyone who works for that ministry, and in support of that ministry, will exude the greatest of professionalism, the greatest of competence and the greatest of respect in the conduct of our duties.”
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