The New Today

The problem with the PSC!!!

There is a situation within the Public Service that needs the urgent attention of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Under the Grenada Constitution, the PSC is entrenched and recognised as the body that is responsible for the hiring and firing of public officers, as well as the general running of the public service.

THE NEW TODAY has been picking up information of several officers being transferred by the PSC from one ministry to another and these officers are just sitting at a desk doing nothing as the Permanent Secretary is not giving them anything to do.

It is a clear case of the taxpayers of the country being short-changed and cheated by this unfortunate situation.

The problem is multi-dimensional and blame should be equally shared by the PSC itself, the Permanent Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary who was given a job that the officer holder was never prepared to handle as the individual was never groomed to perform.

The PSC is lacking a functional system to monitor the work performance of persons under its care especially officers on transfer at its own doing.

The current members of the commission have inherited a broken down system as was acknowledged by the former Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and have the herculean task to bring back things in-keeping with the Transformational Agenda of the Congress administration.

What does the PSC have in place to know that these transferred workers are giving the country Value for Money for the thousands of dollars paid to them every year to be on the job?

Some workers are complaining of getting letters of transfers from the Commission and after 12 weeks are just sitting on a desk in their new ministry with absolutely nothing to do?

Who is to blame? Is it the PSC or the Permanent Secretary for these workers just there and not making a serious and meaningful contribution in their own ministry?

The same thing applies to the problem with the continued late payment of salaries to some public officers.

Fingers should not only be pointed in the direction of the Accounting officers in these ministries for not submitting on time the relevant information to the Ministry of Finance to facilitate the payment to public officers.

Under the rules of the public service, the Accounting Officer is the Permanent Secretary and these are the ones who can be summoned by Parliament to answer questions on the stewardship of the respective Line Ministry.

Are we promoting persons to the top and senior positions within the public service on the basis of a mere degree on their resume as their main qualification? What is the working experience of these people?

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has to rely on his Cabinet Secretary to help identify “the cream of the crop” in the service when the individual is lacking in institutional knowledge of the system including personnel with capacity.

The problem with the Public Service is that due to the breakdown of the system under the former regime, there has been no succession planning put in place for the growth and development of the service.

There has been an exodus of quality Permanent Secretaries from the service in the past 30 years with no serious under-studying taking place to absorb the knowledge of these persons.

Under the former administration, it was not uncommon for a new Permanent Secretary to fall out of grace, sent packing to a virtually non-functioning ministry and replaced by someone who was plucked from obscurity and elevated to the top of the service due to political consideration and affiliation.

It is the situation that was inherited by the new Congress government which campaigned to bring about transformation.

The question is – what has the current PSC and the Prime Minister and his Cabinet done to address the situation?

The current Prime Minister is at a serious disadvantage as he has limited knowledge of the workings of the Public Service.

THE NEW TODAY is not convinced that he has surrounded himself with people who can guide him and provide proper and sound advice and information on the operation of the public service.

There is also a suspicion that a number of the people around the Prime Minister are more concerned with looking after their own interest and seeking to put in place certain persons who are loyal to them and not have the best interest of the State at heart.

The current NDC leaders should be mindful to avoid this pitfall that in the end helped to bring down the former Prime Minister who was more concerned with loyalty and not performance on the job.

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