The Guyana Trades Union Congress has issued a call for members of the new government to remember their campaign promises to “be different” from the previous administration.
The GTUC’s call was issued on Saturday as it was confirmed that the Head of the Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene was sent on administrative leave following a verbal confrontation with the Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes.
The Trade Union body said the move to send Greene home “is an early sign of intolerance and an inability to adequately respond to and resolve industrial conflict in the Ministry of Social Protection headed by Ms Volda Lawrence and Minister within the Ministry Ms Simona Broomes.”
Greene is a contract worker but the GTUC said the development has raised serious concerns in the GTUC over the nature of the industrial environment that will be cultivated.
“Whereas it is important that functional superiors show authority this must be exercised judiciously respecting the rights of each employee to due process which includes the right to defence.”
The GTUC said it “takes this opportunity to remind the Honourable Ministers that it is less than three weeks since they were on the campaign trail promising to be different and offering themselves as a better alternative to the previous government. They are reminded that better practices are not limited to areas of corruption and marginalisation but also to the ability to manage industrial practices.”
The union also added that “as a result, Ministers are reminded that their actions determine how persons perceive their ability to exercise stewardship of the ministry under their portfolio and may unfortunately result in an unfair labelling of the entire new administration.”
There are conflicting reports about what exactly went down during the meeting at the Child Care and Protection Agency.
Reports suggest that during the meeting, a loud Ann Greene made it known to Broomes that she and her staff might have problems working with her because of some of the statements she made on the campaign trail. A source close to the agency explained that Broomes voiced her objections to Greene’s statements in an equally loud tone and the senior Minister was forced to intervene.
In the past, the two women have been known to disagree on several issues related to child care. Broomes who previously served as the President of the Women Miners Organisation has been recognised for her championing of women’s and children’s rights and her many efforts to fight human trafficking. She has in the past made known her disappointment with the way victims of human trafficking were treated by the Human Services Ministry and the Child Care and Protection Agency.
On many occasions, Ms. Greene voiced her own concerns about the attacks from Broomes and the Women Miners group.
The Ministry of Social Protection has defended its decision to have Greene proceed on “annual leave” in wake of the verbal confrontation. Ms. Ann Greene has remained relatively silent on the issue.
The Ministry issued a full statement last evening and that statement was followed by another statement from the Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence.
Lawrence said she condemns the unprofessional manner and discourteous behavior of the Director and intimates that such behavior would not be tolerated in the Ministry.
“During the familiarity tour of the Agency, the Director in question sent one of the Officers for Minister Broomes, who was at the time having a look at another section of the Agency, and no sooner was the Minister present than the Director unleashed her abusive disapproval to the shock and dismay of the visiting team despite repeated calls to end her tirade.”