There is no guarantee from the one-year old New National Party (NNP) administration in St. George’s that some jobs might not be lost with the statutorisation of the Government Information Service (GIS) before year-end.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell who holds the portfolio of Information was asked to comment on reports that some GIS employees would have to re-apply for their jobs with the new entity that is to become a more independent body.
“…All I can assure you is we are absolutely committed not to see people lose their jobs at this particular time”, he told reporters at a post-Cabinet press briefing.
“I have said so over and over, I don’t want to supervise over that sought of initiative at this time, so I don’t expect to see much persons being asked (to go home), not being given an opportunity to continue being employed. I expect that most of them will”, he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell stated that he has not given any such instruction on the planned statutorisation of GIS but will not be surprised if others involved in the process did.
“I’m not surprised if those who are involved in the process indicated that that is an initiative that they wish to see”, he added.
Although no names were given of those forming the committee to statutorise GIS, THE NEW TODAY understands that the group is to be headed by a former Press Secretary.
Government is targeting May to change the status of GIS, now under the command of former President of the Media Workers of Grenada (MWAG) and longstanding Journalist Rawle Titus.
Plans to statutorise GIS and the Government Printery were first announced by Prime Minister Mitchell in his closing remarks on the 2014 Budget.
The Grenadian leader told Parliament his government believes that transforming GIS to an Executive Agency or statutory body would be much more efficient and functional and can realise in profits for the entity.
Dr. Mitchell announced that the State will provide financial support during the transition period for at least one year for both GIS and the Printery.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Nickolas Steele was charged with the responsibility of sourcing modern equipment for GIS.
Government sources told this newspaper that the statutorisation of GIS will be easier to accomplish than Government Printery as more monies will have to be found to pay-off the printery staff which is much larger in numbers.
The cash-strapped Mitchell government is planning to use the statutorisation approach to lower the wage bill of the civil service as part of a three-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).