Govt promises to scrap contract employment but refuses to say when “You can’t force it out of us”- Felix

Last Updated on Monday, 15 February 2016, 18:26 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government Monday promised to scrap the employment of workers on contract, but refused to tell the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) when that would be done.

“This policy is coming to zero. We will decide that. You can’t force it out of us,” said Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Winston Felix during consideration of the estimates of expenditure for the 2016 National Budget. He was at the time responding to a question by PPP back-bencher, Komal Chand.

Felix was grilled against the background of GYD$130 million being set aside for contract employees at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship at the Ministry of the Presidency.

While in opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change had joined the Guyana Trades Union Congress and the Guyana Public Service Union in condemning the then PPPC administration for employing thousands of persons on contract.

The Minister assured that the employment of contract workers would eventually be phased out and replaced by persons on the fixed establishment.  “This government- we will not be continuing with the contract employee. As we inherited it, we used it. That will be phased out,” he said.

Felix noted that since the establishment of the Department of Citizenship, it has been inundated with job applications.

Shadow Junior Minister of Finance, Juan Edghill questioned why Guyanese were not notified about the availability of jobs in that Department through advertisements to which Felix responded: “This government is committed to a fair and equitable system and we will be embarking on that.”

Felix disagreed with Edghill that the employment system was unfair. “It was a fair system when compared with the Marriott,” he quipped in clear reference to alleged favouritism and opacity by the previous administration in the construction of the Marriott-branded hotel that was constructed by state funds.