As far back as I can remember, the question of conflict of interest never seems to be questionable in this country and I cannot understand for the life of me why.
Perhaps Hudson George who appears to be a traditionalist can enlighten me on this, but I firmly believe as our country has moved from colonialism to a sovereign state in this 21st century, laws should be introduced to protect our citizens especially the most vulnerable at various levels in society from this dog eat dog survival of the fittest behaviour of our so-called intellectuals who have the gift of cunning our people and getting away with it even with their eyes wide open.
We need to be protected from adverse environmental conditions such as noise, the polluters including bush fires that pollute our air causing respiratory problems to sufferers of hey fever and asthma.
We also need protection in the workplace and educational institutions, protection from harm, including the vulnerable such as children and young people in terms of incest and rape, safeguarding is essential.
Consumers’ protection, including consumers’ rights for after sales and services. Protection from doggy landlords and the legal profession – providing a Legal Ombudsman services etc. We also need effective enforcement of our laws. Not all traditions are acceptable in modern day society – there is a need to recognise and respect individual rights.
During my colonial years we heard of doggy, bent solicitors taking advantage of our ancestors’ ignorance by taking on their disputes, mostly with other family members that involved lands and properties, only for those same bent solicitors to buy up the properties cheaply off their clients. Most of whom families became wealthy by the doggy dealings and blatant conflict of interest. Those parasites had no morals or ethics. Indeed ethical codes did not exist in those days to protect our ancestry from what was a cruel/evil practice by those predators who conned their clients out of their land and properties.
They decided how much the land or property was worth; they decided how much they would pay for it and when. It was a case of come into my office and sign on the dotted line. A lot of Grenadians today have lost their inheritance through what was and perhaps still is a nasty practice.
I am raising the question of ethics and conflict of interest because I was staggered to learn through the media and weekly newspapers reports that Rachel Roberts, the President of the Public Workers Union (PWU) is a high ranking government employee. She is listed in some reports as a Permanent Secretary, others have her as Assistant Permanent Secretary and even a Senior Administrative Officer in the Ministry of Health.
According to the media, Ms Rachel Roberts who was recently re-elected President of one of our country’s most powerful trade union (PWU) is in dispute with the government; not on behalf of the public works employees she represents as head of her union but on behalf of herself. Isn’t this a farce? Only in Grenada this could happen.
Questions must be asked. How was this allowed to happen or to continue for over 4 years? No disrespect to Ms Roberts but clearly there is a conflict of interest here and one would thought within days of her success to the top union job 4 years ago one would have expected her superiors to congratulate her on her success and be told she would have to resign her position with the ministry within a certain time or be sacked.
Naturally, in such a situation an amicable arrangement would be reached, she would be entitled to all the benefits as any other employee at the same level of employment in accordance with her employment package/contract, including benefits, gratuity etc.
How in heaven’s name could you have the top union boss on the civil service payroll is beyond me? One cannot serve two masters as Poacher and Game Keeper all at the same time. Where does loyalty lies?
It would be interested to see the efficiencies and effectiveness record of Ms Roberts in her role as a Permanent Secretary or whatever her title is since she assumed the role of President of the PWU including how many hours she actually spent per week working on behalf of the ministry and what she has been paid by the ministry since taking up the post as President of the PWU.
Ms Roberts must be extremely good in her role as the boss of this powerful union; she must be thought of very highly by the membership and officials. No doubt loyalty; hard working and dedication to details must have been instrumental in her re-election.
No one is questioning her credentials or her ability in any regards but she cannot expect to have her cake and eat it. Her Political Influence On OECS Media Cited In Global Report and perhaps politically motivated.