President appoints new Public Service Commission; Ignores Opposition’s objections to two nominees

President appoints new Public Service Commission; Ignores Opposition’s objections to two nominees

President Irfaan Ali today reconstituted the Public Service Commission (PSC) with the appointment of six new members, but without the full support of the Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton.

The Opposition had objected to two of the nominees, citing their affiliation with the government.

Chairman of the Gaming Authority’s Board of Directors, Manniram Prashad, who is a former Minister of Trade under a previous PPP Government, is among the new appointees.

He was appointed directly by the President based on the President’s own deliberate judgment as provided for under the Constitution.

The other members are Maurice Gajadhar, Melcita Bovell, Leila Ramson, Mohandatt Goolsarran, and Janice Isabella Bowen.

Under the Constitution, the Commission is required to have six members – three of whom must be appointed by the President, after meaningful consultation with the Opposition Leader.

In this regard, President Ali had nominated Gajadhar, Ramson, and Bovell, however the Opposition objected to Mrs. Ramson and Ms. Bovell.

In objecting to the names, the Opposition pointed out that Mrs. Ramson is the wife of the Commissioner of Information who is a former Attorney General under a PPPC government.

She is also the mother of the current Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture. It was pointed out also that new Commissioner Bovell is “known to be a close associate of a senior political party operative.”

Norton said it was important for the Commission to be independent and free from political influence, but the Government, in response, said the two had served the country with distinction while holding other portfolios.

The other two members, Bowen and Goolsarran, were nominated by the Parliament.

In his address today, the President did not address the issues raised by the Opposition Leader. Instead, he urged the Commission to hold the Public Service accountable, as the country undergoes significant transformation.

“In the direction our country is going, in the massive transformation, transparency, accountability, efficiency, reliance, and credibility of our public sector is very, very important. The reliance on our public sector, the efficiency, and reliability and transparency of the public sector is therefore reliant on the persons who constitute the public sector. It is, in our benefit, as a country and as a people that we not only hold public officers accountable to the requirement of their mandate and the constitution but more importantly, very important in this process of transformation, that productivity and delivery becomes and an import output of the public sector,” the President said.

The President said cognizant of its role, the Government has been investing heavily in the Public Service to upgrade the skillsets of public servants, and make the sector, efficient.

He noted that equally, he expects the Commission to play it part in holding the Public Service to the highest standards.

“Our economy is now the fastest growing economy of the world. So, our public service should be the fastest transitional public service. You can’t be the fastest growing, and the least efficient or the fastest growing and the most unreliable, that is the point, the world expects a higher degree of service from us,” the President said.

The reconstitution of the Public Service Commission comes close to two years after the life of the last Commission came to an end.

Constitutionally, the Commission is required to make appointments to public offices and to remove and exercise discipline control over persons holding or acting in such offices.

Importantly, the reconstitution of the PSC paves way for the Police Service Commission to receive its full complement of commissioners and also paves the way for the appointment of the Judicial Service Commission.

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