Jan 21, 2022 Letters
Kaieteur News – Please permit me to respond to letter posted in Kaieteur News on 13 January, 2022 under the caption “A Truly Clumsy Public Service” by writer Mr. Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine.
The writer of that diatribe has unwittingly “painted” all functionaries of the Public Service “with the same brush,” perhaps because of his apparent belief in the saying “one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.” Now, the colloquial saying “weh cuss come out, ah deh weh um deh,” may well fit this writer, because he went to lengths to besmirch the entire Public Service, without offering a shred of evidence to support his claim.
It is evident that the writer is pandering to the political hierarchy to obtain relief from archaic systems that so far Governments have not had the political will to change, modernise or mechanise. The systems that embrace both the issuance of passports and certificates of births and deaths are somewhat casualties of such failures and only persons, who operate like the proverbial ostrich would overlook these systemic deficiencies, which are mainly inherent because of political interference. The other issues raised could surely be dealt with through terse and timely complaints to management and to the extent that breaches of the law has occurred, the Guyana Police Force. The hypocritical attack on the entirety of the Public Service begs the question as to what exactly is the writer’s motive and what is he attempting to achieve.
There was however two redeeming points within the writer’s presentation, viz.
(1) The Public service is overtly politicised; and
(2) “it is said that the improvement of any organisation must be inspired by its leaders.”
In relation to (1), there were attempts by some Governments to embrace Public Sector Reform. In 1990 under the Desmond Hoyte administration there was a Public Service Review, where the British Government facilitated the engagement of KPMG Peat Marwick Mc Lintock to review the Public Service, some recommendations of which were implemented, but proved ineffective in later days. Again, in 2001 under the Bharrat Jagdeo administration there was a Public Sector Modernisation Project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, which was shelved because of continuous failure to implement reforms. The Granger administration in the year 2016 set up the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service to treat with the politicisation of the Public Service by creating a professional cadre of Public Servants over time through, but this initiative was “shot down” by the Irfaan Ali administration, because of its own political agenda. In this regard, the writer was an obvious “Rip Van Winkle,” since he neither dealt with the issue nor offered solutions to fill the void.
On the matter at (2), I was shocked that Heads of Budget Agencies and other Agency Heads have not so far taken the writer to task for his comments, since by implication, the reverse is also true. Hence, if as he says the Public Service is inept, inefficient, and unprofessional, the leadership is an obvious failure.
All in all, it is my view that the crusading writer owes the entirety of the Public Service an unreserved apology, because of his inept linguistic latitudes and generalisations that is devoid of any empirical evidence or facts.
Guyana Public Service Union
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