by Zena Henry
Junior Minister of Social Protection Simona Broomes has rubbished claims of “executive lawlessness” made against her by the opposition. She stating that a letter written to the Public Service Commission (PSC) on staff appointments was a mere request to put the appointments on hold so that they can first fix the broken system.
Boomes said that the current state of the Ministry does not allow for the flow of staffers as the structure has been damaged.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is accusing Broomes of “over-stepping her boundary. In the letter addressed to the PSC, she directed that the Commission should cease functioning and making decisions in respect to appointments of public servants until so directed by Mr. Granger.”
The party General Secretary Clement Rohee said in a statement to the press that Broomes is “either being bullish or ignorant of the fact that the PSC is an autonomous, statutory body as described in section 200-203 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and cannot be dictated to by a Minister of Government.”
Broomes is adamant however that she made no such move to instruct the Commission.
She said that there were several staffers in the Social Protection Ministry waiting to be interviewed and out of the bunch one person was pulled to be interviewed.
She said, “It alerted the other staff and everybody started running ‘helta skelta’ asking what was happening, that they were not being interviewed.” Broomes claimed that the former government had tried the handpicking mechanism and the staffs were getting worried.
She said when the staff came to her; she called the public service commission and asked if they could hold on the interviews. She said she further “wrote asking them to put on hold”. She said the President did announce that he was requesting for them to put on hold appointments pointing to another matter where the transfer of a policeman was also asked to be put on hold since the Minister had not been appointed. “I don’t see that as instructing,” Broomes said. “If I was instructing I would have said you are not suppose to, you must not. Those words never came from me.”
She said it is also unsure what the Ministry has or what vacancies exist.
“We are not sure, we don’t know what the vacancies are, we don’t know what exist; it is such a mess. Rohee should be ashamed that they left nothing behind. No structure, all you can find is people looking at different ways and means to steal money and scramble money. They’ve been paying a whole set of staff that never reported under empowerment, which is Lubumba, how many staff? A long list and how many drivers and gardeners and all that money coming out of labour. It is chaos,” she said. “These persons never reported to labour, but you’re being paid under labour.”
Broomes charged that Rohee should see the difference between a request and an instruction before uttering.
The Ministry of Social Protection under the PPP was the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security.