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Nov 16, 2017

Reforms Suggested for Public Service Commission

At least one member of the Senate Special Select Committee, Ashley Rocke, has gone on record to say he believes that public officers are more to blame than Government ministers or anyone else for the mess that was the Immigration Department between 2011 and 2013. And while he was not about to throw his juniors under the bus, Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse has previously expressed his concerns with how their attempts to bring certain public servants to justice for alleged misdeeds was stymied by the Public Service Commission. Hulse and Business Senator Mark Lizarraga went back and forth on how the Commission could be upgraded to dispense justice while not trampling on the rights of the Public Service.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration and Nationality

“And the sad thing is that for example in the case of the three people we took before the commission that those people were sent back and reinstated, and paid – I think they were on half pay but now reinstated with full pay, gives the wrong signal to the entire public service, destroyed the confidence in the department, because everybody in the department for the most part knew that something terribly went wrong and that is where I have a difficulty. How we fix it, that is for the entire assembly to sit and discourse how we deal with public sector matters at that level.”

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“Minister, but with the greatest of respect, you are a member of Cabinet now. Obviously it has to be an issue…”

 

Godwin Hulse

“Yes it is an issue; Cabinet has discussed it over and over, but the Public Service Commission constitutionally forms the body with full autonomy and authority and not subject to direction of anybody except the commission that has been appointed and the commission is a broad based commission, it’s not a government commission alone. It’s that firewall that insulates public officers from the very criticism that have been levied over the years of political operative haul and pulling the public service etcetera and it creates that firewall. So that the very firewall that we are investigating where if somebody, if a minister went to somebody and said do this nationality, and the person said no, and the minister said we will fire you, it is to prevent that very kind of thing that in fact that firewall exist. The public officers come under the C.E.O., come under their directors and if there is an issue they are taken before the Public Service Commission by those people, it completely cuts off the political directorate. Political directorate is policy and laws; and I hear you that no law has come to strengthen it, but what law to strengthen it? It’s a function of that Committee doing its proper work, to my mind.”

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