Sep 27, 2020 News
− 87 percent of workforce on contract
Employment at the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, (GFSL) will be reviewed soon.
It was revealed in the National Assembly that 218 of its 250 employees were contract workers.
In response to a question posed by Opposition Member of Parliament, Geeta Chandan-Edmond on the matter, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, said it was a situation the PPP/C Government inherited but a matter, which he intended to address immediately.
“This is a situation I inherited. This matter will be reviewed and the appropriate steps will be taken to make sure that persons are placed in requisite positions where they can perform efficiently for the Ministry,” Minister Benn said.
Pressed further on possible changes at the facility, Minster Benn told the National Assembly that the majority of the staff at the GFSL were over age 45 and he needed to have a better look at the situation before making any hasty decisions.
“My predecessor had the opportunity for over four and a half years to make the necessary adjustments; with due respect, we will not rush in a situation where we will not be able to appropriately place people in positions where they cannot or may not be able to perform their best,” the Minister said.
The issue of contract employees in the public sector has been of concern for many years with critics saying that this has caused a strain on the public coffers. The former APNU+AFC Government was also condemned for this practice.
In 2016, chartered accounting firm Ram and McRae conducted a survey on the matter and noted that the Office of the President, formerly (Ministry of the Presidency) at the time, increased contract employment from 298 in 2015 to 505 in 2016. This led to an increase in wages from $142 million to $798 million.
In that same year, then Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, had announced that his government was in the process of streamlining contract workers to fit them into the permanent structure of the public service, via the pensionable establishment.
However, contracted employee numbers climbed to 569 the following year.
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