The following is an unsolicited and extensive comment submitted by the said name below, for publication under the article, St Lucia minister to cut the public service: IMF conditions. Caribbean News Global (CNG) herein publish as follows:
All I can say to the politicians is to stop sending a mixed message to the public servants.
Victor Poyotte, you have addressed so many important issues in your article which needs to be looked at in-depth in this country, when it comes to public servants, their performance, and politics. It was quite by accident a few weeks ago that I had my radio on and heard this talk-show by a gentleman whose name I do not recall at this point.
Poyotte, you hit the nail on the head when you said, “… it is the actions of politicians like you that stand in the way of public service, achieving defined performance goals.” In my most humble opinion, herein lies the essence of the majority of our problems in the Saint Lucia Public Service.
Yes, some workers will fool around, the same exists in the private sector and the hotel sector yet some critics of public servants behave as if we are all the worst evil on this earth. I can tell you about numerous of us; who stay pass 4:30 p.m., work way into our lunch and grab 20 – 30 minutes of lunch at our desk and get right back to working and still carry work to our homes.
I heard this particular minister called into the program and declared ‘the public service can do with less workers’. This comment is insensitive, pathetic, and ill-researched. There is no ground to make such a claim. Sometimes it is better to just keep quiet if you have nothing substantial to contribute.
Just when I was beginning to convince myself that maybe as a country, as a public service we can make that sacrifice of our salaries for the three months, the minister spoke. But what he speaks and the reality is so vastly different that after listening to this rhetoric I felt disgusted, insulted, and angered. Therefore, I want my full salary because I work hard and I did not play a hand in where we are today financially as a country. We did not have to be in such a bad state before the feather even hit the floor during COVID-19.
Firstly, how many persons were not able to travel to Castries to work, where the majority of government offices are located. Those of us who diligently reported for work during COVID-19 shut down, did so out of a sense of responsibility, and simply saw it as doing our jobs. So, do you honestly believe that workers who were present to do the additional work of two or three other workers had all smooth sailing? Are you aware that some offices by the very nature of the ministry carry a heavier workload and are more stressful than others?
Secondly, when you [politicians] think that the ‘public service can do with less workers’, to save money, I believe, before we take jobs from people and release them to become social problems; let’s see where we can save some money.
- Government vehicles are grossly abused. Just this past Saturday there was a maroon pick-up carrying a family with a child, a dog, and a cooler in the trunk. I am certain its engine did not run on water. This was just one day and one vehicle which I saw. What about the ones which go to the various schools to drop off the “Kings and Queens who dare not walk the streets,” while their parents still collect travel allowance on their salaries. I suppose those times the vehicles run on water too.
I suggest we save those travel allowances and just let the ministries drivers take all children to school.
Lazy public servants some would say. The question is who sent them to the various offices; Where did they come from?
In many agencies, heads of departments are not involved as to who comes into their department; whether they can do the work and/or are qualified. When it comes to calling these people up on their behavior it’s the hardest thing because – “its always the minister’s boy or the minister’s girl”. We have hard-working, qualified public servants who never seem to get a break, while some others catapult to high positions because of their various affiliations with minsters of government.
There are instances when the politicians will throw temper tantrums because the public service and the Public Service Commission were trying to do their job by informing ministers that their “person” did not have the qualifications for the job and now must jump four grades to reach a chief officer position at Grade 18, only to encountered resistance.
In such instances, it would be insisted that it’s their “person” or “no one else”, and until they [politicians] get their person – it is one of the ‘lazy public servants’, not anyone else doing the job. So, are we to believe there was no one else in the entire public service to fill the position? Too many times, politicians want to force the hands of those agencies and then a few years later, blame them for not disciplining officers.
The nepotism is so blatant, it reeks.
How is it right when someone obtained all their professional training and experience, seeing ‘a mental patient’ just thrust into the nation’s licensing department as a senior officer?
So, of course, we public servants will be lazy and dare I say, you should add inefficient too.
I am sure minister Guy Joseph, who believes that the public service is full of lazy people is aware of such. It is the same Public Service Commission that has been chastised for not disciplining those who are receiving salaries on suspension. It is the same one who is pressured to place people in positions in which they do not qualify.
We have a lot that is wrong with our public service. But the change will only come when politicians are no longer the biggest hypocrites interfering in areas they ought not to. The one who speaks the loudest is the one who wants to interfere with every single government ministry’s positions.
Stop interfering. I want my money. All of it.