The Fabian Purcell episode has brought into sharp focus the “rubber stamp” nature of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the massive breakdown of institutions in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique under the watch of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
THE NEW TODAY has discovered that a political operative of Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP) by the name of Carlton “Darker” Frederick has been sent into the Physical Planning Unit (PPU) within the Ministry of Finance to take over from Purcell who has been sent on leave.
Less than three months ago, Mr. Frederick was elected as the Treasurer of the NNP at the party’s annual convention.
That apart, Mr. Frederick, a retired public officer, is known in the St. John Constituency as a key political operative with the Member of Parliament, Fisheries Minister, Alvin DaBreo.
This newspaper contacted Mr. Frederick on Wednesday and he confirmed that he was sent into the office on Monday as a replacement for Mr. Purcell.
When asked who sent him into the government department, he did not answer.
Mr. Frederick also admitted that he did not get a letter of appointment to act as head of Physical Planning by the PSC, which is the only body in the country entitled by law to appoint persons to posts within the public service.
It is quite clear from Mr. Frederick’s answers to the questions posed to him that he has no legal standing in PPU and cannot give orders and directives to anyone within the department.
So it still begs the question – who sent Mr. Frederick to take charge of Physical Planning and where is his authority to do so?
Three hours earlier, THE NEW TODAY had spoken with the Chairman of PSC, Mr. Prescott Swan who indicated that he did not know anything about Mr. Frederick since the commission did not appoint him to the post in accordance with the law.
Mr. Swan confirmed that the PSC held its weekly meeting on Monday and no documents came from the Ministry of Finance headed by Prime Minister Mitchell on the impending appointment of Mr. Frederick to the top post in the department.
The PSC head also expressed dismay that Mr. Frederick would be brought back into Physical Planning given the fact that he had to be removed by the commission before in peculiar circumstances.
History has a strange way of repeating itself.
The current Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell was Minister of Works in the 1984-90 NNP administration of the late H.A Blaize when one of his close political aides, Norris Nelson had to step down from an executive post on the NNP Constituency Branch in St. Patrick West.
Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas of Congress who was then a member of NNP had raised the conflict of interest issue at a party meeting and Nelson did the decent, right and honourable thing and resigned as a member of the NNP to remain as a public officer.
Today the situation is virtually the same with Carlton Frederick – an executive member of the NNP who is being sent to take charge of Physical Planning.
And Mr. Frederick has gone on record as saying that he was sent to PPU but not by PSC. If not PSC – then who sent him there?
He also said that he was announced to take charge of the department but when asked who made that particular announcement he quickly shut up and hang up the phone.
The current situation raises the serious question as to whether or not there is not in existence two PSC in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique – one recognised by the Grenada Constitution and another one that is hidden and under the control of the Political Directorate of the day.
What is the Public Workers Union (PWU) of President Rachel Roberts doing about this untenable state of affairs?
The PWU should get into action and immediately instruct its membership in the service not to take any instructions from Mr. Frederick as he has no legal clothes of any sort to take charge of the unit.
In addition, Mr. Frederick as an experienced public officer with over 30 years of service, ought to know that he should not have showed up for work on Monday without a proper letter of appointment from the PSC.
The new so-called PPU boss should not have even showed up at the Lagoon Road office as he is known to be wearing the political hat and clothes of his NNP party as its Treasurer.
When will this growing state of lawlessness in Grenada come to an end?