Tourism and Business Minister, Oneidge Walrond today defended the government’s firing of scores of public servants since taking office last August.
In her contribution to the budget debates, the technocrat Minister said many of the public servants who were terminated by the PPP Civic administration were linked to the APNU+AFC coalition and did not hide their allegiance. She said their firing had nothing to do with any ethnic cleansing of the public service as argued by the Opposition.
“Some of these Public Servants were captured on camera praying and referring to anyone outside of their “chosen political circle” as “devils”. Some said that the PPPC was rigging the election. Others said that any PPP/C administration would be illegitimate under any circumstances. Some said they had no intention nor inclination to work with a PPP/C government. These sentiments were not hidden Mr. Speaker. They were openly and bluntly expressed and, in some cases, unrelenting in their frequency. Then…Mr. Speaker after five long months during which these very people were encouraged, emboldened but ultimately abandoned by those now on the other side, after some of these very public servants who were educated enough, old enough and senior enough to know better stepped squarely into the political affray, instead of doing the right thing and resigning, they continued to occupy office.”
Walrond who served in a senior public service position under the APNU+AFC government and is also a former Magistrate said many of the public servants who were sent home were bent on obstructing the government’s plans and works.
She said “the real problem was that having opted to remain in office, some were not content to buckle down and do the job, many were determined to be obstructionist and engaged in behaviour that could not reasonably be interpreted as anything other than obstruction given their stated sentiments. Some came to this very House Mr. Speaker and refused to assist in providing information in response to questions asked during consideration of the Estimates by the People’s Representatives on the other side themselves”, the Minister said, while not providing any names of the public servants accused of stifling the new government of information.
The Tourism Minister told the National Assembly that not all of the terminated public servants could be seen as obstructionists as many of them left their posts in good standing after being fired.
“I am not saying that all persons separated from the Public Service were obstructionist. This is not the case. I say however Mr. Speaker that when the Opposition takes to Social Media – and lumps the Good with the Bad and the Ugly in their quest to pursue a narrative of racial discrimination – they do a disservice to those who separated from the public service with dignity”, she noted.
The Opposition has accused the government of firing more than 1000 mostly Afro-Guyanese public servants since taking office. Many of those fired were not knowingly linked to any political party.
Several senior public servants who were not given any reason for their dismissal other than their services were no longer needed.