A war of words has broken out between Works Minister Juan Edghill and the APNU+AFC.
The Opposition APNU+AFC today slammed Minister of Works Juan Edghill over his decision to access the personnel file of APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Amanza Walton-Disir and release information from that file to the public.
Walton-Disir up to two weeks ago was the General Counsel at the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, a position she held for seven years. She was terminated two days after she took the oath as a Member of Parliament for the APNU+AFC.
The termination has been seen as a political hatchet job by the new PPP Civic Government and there are reports that the GCAA boss, Egbert Field was instructed to fire the General Counsel.
However, in a statement to the Government Department of Public Information, Edghill who waved around documents from Walton-Disir’s personnel file at the GCAA admitted that he requested the file from the body’s Human Resources Department.
He said Walton-Desir was terminated for not doing her job and other issues and not because she is an APNU+AFC member. He also released the details of her contract with the GCAA.
Firing back today, the APNU+AFC accused Edghill of “calculated political persecution” and said it was going to raise the issue with a number of international agencies.
The APNU+AFC said Edghill slandered Ms. Walton-Desir and admitted to the public that he requested her personnel file.
The coalition said that move is entirely out of order, improper and the height of authoritarianism.
According to the coalition, the Minister should have acted properly and responsibly by requesting a report from the GCAA’s Director General and not by making direct contact with the Human Resources Department for the personnel file of a former employee. The APNU+AFC said it is clear that it was political interference that led to the firing of Walton-Disir.
“Edghill acted way beyond the parameters of acceptable conduct, indulged in misconduct in public office and will suffer the legal consequences for his abhorrent and nauseating actions in maligning Ms. Walton-Desir, who has 17 years experience as a practicing attorney”, the APNU+AFC statement said.
A defiant Minister Juan Edghill defended his decision today and said he believes he has every right as the subject Minister to access the employment file since statements were made by the MP in public. He said he believes he was also within his right to provide details of her contract since she served as a public officer.
Speaking briefly with reporters this afternoon, the APNU+AFC Member of Parliament said Edghill was conservative on the truth with his Monday night statement. She was never part of the vote recount process as alleged by him and the reason she was not at work just after the election was because she was on leave like other staffers who were advised to proceed on leave because of COVID-19.
Ms. Walton-Disir has already indicated that she intends to take legal action against the Government’s decision to terminate her contract. She started her job at the Civil Aviation Department under the previous PPP administration and also previously worked in the Ministry of Works under the PPP. She said it is very clear that she was never a political appointee.