Former President, David Granger is of the view that the Irfaan Ali administration commenced its tenure on a bad start after they began firing public servants just days into office.
Granger, during a closed interview with PNC’s Nicole Telford, questioned the priorities of the new administration, citing that they seem to be focused more on “persecution” rather than explaining policies.
The former Head of State said that the PPP/C had months to prepare for their time in office and he was under the impression that they would have been crafting a strong plan for governance.
“We thought they would have appointed a Minister of Finance,” Granger added “we thought they would have explained how they planned to develop the country, we thought they would have put forward some development plan which I did myself in January of this year, the decade of development plan, but instead they are persecuting civil servants, public servants, you know hard working people.”
With the change in Government, it was expected that most of those who were politically appointed under the Granger led A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition administration resign from their posts. This did not happen, however leading the new administration to issue letters of termination to those persons – some of whom refuse to demit office.
Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira had recently made it clear that the party was not looking at public servants only political appointees. Those very political appointees were presented with an ultimatum to either resign or be fired from their post. But this act, according to Granger will now have implications on the development of Guyana as well as in other dimensions.”
“At a personal level, you would have mothers and fathers going home to their households, going home to their children, saying I don’t have a job. This is in the middle of a pandemic. People are without work, people are wondering where their next meal is coming from, and you sending people home,” Granger said.
He claimed that the persons being sent home are not “big shots” but ordinary wage earners. However, the list of political appointees being sent home proves otherwise, containing the names of top officials from the APNU+AFC who raked in salaries of up to $900,000 per month along with benefits such as “refreshment allowance” among others.
Granger continued that grave consequences will emerge for the new administration as according to him, Guyana is not “rich in human resource.”
He explained “We have always lost our intelligent people, what you call it, brain drain to the Caribbean, to North America and other countries and the worse thing an administration could do is drive talented, skilled, qualified professional people out of the public service.”
Granger pointed to his tenure as President and said that with his creation of four new towns, namely Bartica, Mabaruma, Mahdia and Lethem, created new jobs for public servants, something he noted the new administration should be focused on.
“You need more public servants, you need more administrations to develop these Regions and to deliver services to the people,” Granger said.
Further, the former President alluded to the fact that the new administration is firing persons during the middle of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with no due cause. While it is because of their political affiliation that they are being removed, Granger stated that this can be a problem from a legal standpoint.
“Are they guilty of something?” Granger questioned, adding that “Almost every adult in this country has participated in some form of political activity. Have they suddenly become criminals because they voted? Are they political? Have any of them committed an offense? Have any of them been accused of an offense other than being political? What does being political mean?”
If the new administration continues with this trend, Granger added, “in a flash, many ministries, many agencies, Commissions and Boards will be deprived of qualified people.”
“They started on the wrong foot,” he said, “Rather than starting in a conciliatory way to combine the energies of the people of Guyana, they started by diving the country in the worse possible way.”