Caswell Franklyn, Unity Workers Union

The Caswell Franklyn Column – Appointments – A Political Gimmick to Deceive Public Workers

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

There are times when I wish that I could come up with a profound and memorable quote to describe an event or situation. The announcement in the 2016 Budget that all temporary officers, who had been employed in the Public Service for three or more years, would be permanently appointed was one such occasion. No matter how hard I try, the only thing that comes to mind to describe that announcement is Shakespeare’s play: “Much Ado About Nothing”.

In December 2007 mere weeks before the 2008 General Elections, the Arthur administration, sensing defeat at the polls, passed the Public Service Act (PSA) and brought it into force on December 31, 2007. A few provisions of that act were designed to entice public officers to vote for them. There were in excess of 3,000 temporary public officers who had been working for three or more years. In order to appeal to that demographic, section 13. (7) of the act provided that all those temporary officers, who had the necessary qualifications and had been employed for three or more years prior to the commencement of the act, shall be entitled to be appointed with effect from December 31, 2007.

In other words, temporary officers who joined the service on or before January 1, 2005 and had worked continuously till December 31, 2007 were entitled for appointment, if they had the necessary qualifications. The appointments of workers in that category are guaranteed and are only awaiting the processing of the necessary paperwork. Mind you, that paperwork has taken almost nine years so far.

It is obvious from the legislation that Arthur intended to benefit electorally from the appointment of so many workers. But by that time his administration had become so unpopular that such measures failed to produce the desired effect. However, they enacted a set of procedures to ensure that public service appointments would not thereafter become a political football.

Rather than implement the provisions of the PSA, the current administration has presided over a system where appointments are not made in accordance with the letter or spirit of the law. My understanding is that there are approximately 250 temporary officers whose automatic appointments are still pending after eight years. I have heard it said, and I find it hard to believe, that there were not enough vacant permanent post to go around. Section 13. (5) of the PSA established (made permanent) all temporary offices that were in existence for three years prior to December 31, 2007. As a result, there were more than enough jobs to satisfy those who were entitled to automatic appointments.

For those officers who did not qualify for automatic appointment, the PSA provides a roadmap that does not require ministerial intervention beyond providing the post. The minister with responsibility for the Public Service is empowered by section 14. (1) to create temporary offices for an initial period for not more than three years. Thereafter, he can extend it “for a further period not exceeding 3 years beyond the initial period”. After that the minister has no power to further extend the temporary office. He must make an order to establish it, if persons are to continue in that particular job.

It is then left to the Public Service Commission to fill the post. Bear in mind that section 13.(11) of the act mandates that no established office in the Public Service shall be allowed to remain vacant for a period of more than one year, except the Governor-General allows the vacancy or if the minister had frozen the post.

We now know from the mouth of the Minister of Finance that there are temporary officers working in these jobs in excess of three years. Instead of thumping the tables in support of the announcement, MPs should be asking why is the Government is not complying with the law that is already on the statute books to make these appointments.

To be fair to the ministers of Government, their announcements are only as good as the advice they receive from senior civil servants.

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7 Comments on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – Appointments – A Political Gimmick to Deceive Public Workers”

  1. Violet C Beckles August 28, 2016 at 6:14 AM #

    More tricks will come again before elections as many goes for the bait, vote them ALL out, Time for new blood,

    Like

  2. Well Well & Consequences August 28, 2016 at 7:42 AM #

    “The appointments of workers in that category are guaranteed and are only awaiting the processing of the necessary paperwork. Mind you, that paperwork has taken almost nine years so far.”

    This is why I intensely dislike politicians, these petty moves by government have the sole intent of controlling workers to blackmail them for votes.

    No citizen should allowed themselves to be used or bought by politicians…assert your self-confidence and self-esteem, your soul is not for sales so that politicians can attain status, the keys to the treadury or the tools for attaining bribes.

    I attended a family gathering and the topic was the methods used to corral and control millions of people, their minds and future and those of generations of their offspring for hundreds of years, to now come on here this morning and read about the petty mindedness of the small island politicians and governments is nauseating.

    The people HAVE TO take control of their lives, country and send a message to these stupid leaders.

    Like

  3. Artaxerxes August 28, 2016 at 7:45 AM #

    @ Caswell

    The following excerpt was taken from 61 of the 2016 Budget Speech PDF document:

    “Even before the Act was passed several members of our community including members of the then Democratic Labour Party Opposition highlighted several potential challenges which would arise had it been enacted as it then was.”

    Sinckler seems to be implying the Public Service Act 2007-41 was FLAWED and “the fact that there are no vacant and established positions to which they can be appointed,” perhaps as the REASONS that prevented his administration from APPOINTING temporary employees as identified in the Act.

    According to Sinckler before the Act was passed on December 31, 2007, “the then DLP opposition HIGHLIGHTED SEVERAL POTENTIAL CHALLENGES which would ARISE had it been enacted as it then was.”

    There isn’t any evidence to suggest that there were any SIGNIFICANT CHANGES in the STATUS QUO of the temporary employees between 2007 and August 16, 2016. If the DEMS were AWARE of these challenges in 2007, why has it TAKEN them 8 YEARS and 8 MONTHS to IDENTIFY those “challenges?”

    Additionally, why would Cabinet have to ESTABLISH “a WORKING COMMITTEE led by the Ministry of the Civil Service and including other relevant Government departments as well as representatives from the workers’ organizations,” to “ADVISE Cabinet on the PROCEDURE, METHODOLOGY and LEGAL REQUIREMENTS for the EXECUTION of a PROGRAMME to APPOINT ALL TEMPORARY OFFICERS in the Public Service with more than three years’ continuous service at a threshold date to be determined by the Committee, especially WHEN the Public Service Act 2007-41 makes the APPOINTMENT PROCESS LEGAL?

    As is usual with the DLP administration, they are seeking to BLAME someone or something for their INEPT handling of governance. In this situation, it is the Public Service Act 2007-41.

    Like

  4. Caswell Franklyn August 28, 2016 at 4:43 PM #

    Artaxerxes

    Sinckler was lying plain and simple. The Public Service Act also established all the temporary offices that had been in existence for three years prior to December 31, 2007. At the time when this legislation was passed, the senior public officers at th Personnel Administration Division did everything in their power to delay or not make the appointments at all. One officer even slipped in his wife in one of the positions when she clearly did not qualify. They then manufactured problems with the act and communicated those problems to the gullible Cabinet. They were deceived and continue to be. Even the 2010 amendments to the act were designed to put power to lord over civil servants in the hands of the Chief Personnel Officer. Those amendments were unnecessary but the politicians stuck to their briefs because they did not know any better.

    There is no need to form any committee either, Smart Stream has a record of every person who is paid in the Public Service. Even if Smart Stream is deficient, the NIS has a record of everyone who pays contributions. The problem might come where the contributions are not paid in.

    Like

  5. David August 28, 2016 at 4:49 PM #

    @Caswell

    What you are saying is that members of the civil service who are apprised of the situation have done nothing. They have allowed minister Sinckler to run roughshod over them.

    On Sun, Aug 28, 2016 at 8:43 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

    Like

  6. Caswell Franklyn August 28, 2016 at 5:56 PM #

    David

    That is not what I meant. Maybe, I did not express myself clearly. I am saying that the senior civil servants have deceived and manipulated the Cabinet while giving the ministers the illusion of being in charge. They do so because many of the ministers, particularly Sinckler, are intellectually challenged. Some of these people should be dismissed from the service for deliberately misleading ministers, which is an offence under the Public Service Act.

    Have you ever watch the British comedy, “Yes Minister” well it is playing out live in Barbados and it is not funny for the public officers who end up suffering.

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

  7. pieceuhderockyeahright September 3, 2016 at 9:20 AM #

    @ The Honourable Blogmaster

    With general elections just around the corner and what is obvious canvassing I wondered if to append this voter rigging thread, and real and present threat, almost said planned action, to Caswell’s article

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37243190

    Vote rigging: How to spot the tell-tale signs

    We can be assured that, with the eventuality that the DLP government will loose every seat, they will use every option, both legal and illegal, to stay in office.

    Like

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