The PSC transfers!!!

There is never a dull moment in Grenada.

The media cannot complain of a dirt of information in the country especially when the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is in office.

The latest issue involving the government is the transfer of three senior civil servants to new assignments from their long-held position.

The three are Head of the Pest Management Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Paul Graham, Senior Fisheries Officer, Justin Renee and Marine Protected Area (MPA) Officer, Ronald Baldeo.

The transfer of Baldeo is the most laughable as he has been sent to the Ministry of Co-operatives to sit on a desk with very little or nothing to do for the monthly salary that has to be paid to him.

There were reports over the last two to three months of a bitter verbal  clash between Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and the Head of the Pest Management Unit at a Staff meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture over someone at the level of Cabinet overriding his professional decision as a qualified Pest Management expert to import some kind of a foreign substance into the country.

THE NEW TODAY received information that words were flying out from the mouths of PM Mitchell and Graham at such a rapid rate that a member of Dr. Mitchell’s delegation requested that the microphone and tape-recording devices be turned off for fear of the exchanges getting into the domain of the local media.

It came as no surprise to this newspaper that Graham became a target for transfer from the ministry.

The transfers of Graham and the two other senior public officers have only served to widen the already existing distrust between the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration.

The three officers have reported the matter to their union and a decision has already been taken to refer the matter to the Public Service Appeals Tribunal Board.

THE NEW TODAY is doubtful that there will be a reversal of the decision in light of the fact that letters of appointments of civil servants include a clause that they are subjected to transfer from their existing positions at any time.

The only issue is if the transfer is not to a post of equivalent status  and the salaries of the officer is affected in a negative manner.

It is a known fact that government has the majority on the Public Service Commission (PSC) to influence the transfer of any civil servant.

This newspaper got the sense that something was about to happen when someone provided us with reliable information that last Sunday a senior member of PSC was seen exiting the official home of the Prime Minister at Mt. Royal.

It is just not the norm for PSC members to be visiting Mt. Royal. Was there an official PSC meeting that was taking place at Mt. Royal and who were the other members that might have been in attendance?

One day after this visit, the PSC held its usual Monday meeting and the three civil servants were transferred from their posts.

Information also reached our News Desk that the planned transfer of Graham was before the PSC for some weeks now but was delayed until Monday.

Why would the government engage in such actions at this time against an already skeptical civil service?

In recent weeks, the Labour representative in the Senate, Ray Roberts called on public officers to vote “no” in order to try and defeat the government-sponsored Referendum set for October 27 to make certain changes to the Grenada Constitution.

The civil servants are already upset with government on the critical issue of pension due to civil servants who joined the service after 1983.

The high court has already ruled that the law passed by the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of the late Maurice Bishop was null and void and that those affected public officers should qualify for the pension as those who joined the service before 1983.

THE NEW TODAY would want to believe that PM Mitchell who from time to time refers to his Doctorates in both Mathematics and Statistics might have done the calculations for both the Referendum and the upcoming general elections.

He might be inclined to believe that the NNP support base in the country is much bigger than the estimated 5, 500 civil servants and can rely on them to carry the party to victory at any polls.

Why shouldn’t Dr. Mitchell be confident given the fact that the Grenadian electorate on two occasions in 14 years gave him a clean sweep of all 15 seats in general elections?

Despite the bitter austerity measures since the 2013 general elections, the NNP is again boasting of another clean sweep against the Nazim Burke-led National Democratic Congress (NDC).

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