The emasculation of service commissions

The emasculation of service commissions

Aug 20, 2017 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...service-commissions/

The constitutionality of the letter purportedly sent by the government to the Police Service Commission will be decided on by the Court. There, however, remains uncertainty as to the effectiveness of constitutional commissions and whether in fact they are insulated from political direction.
Part of the confusion has arisen because over time, and because of the inadequacies of resources, service commissions have delegated some of their responsibilities relating to appointments to government agencies.

In many instances, interviews are done by government and sent to the commissions for rubber stamping. This has eroded the protective insulation which the commissions were intended to provide.

Another source of confusion has been the fact that under colonial Guyana, the police and public service commissions merely recommended appointments to the Governor. This has left an impression that it is the government which has the ultimate say in appointments.

This was never the case. Recommendations were made to the Governor since appointments were made under his hand, and not by him.

The basis for the establishment of service commissions has always been that they have served to ensure professional and impartial public, police and judicial appointments. These commissions serve as check on the powers of the state by restraining the executive from politicizing appointments and by ensuring that there is an independent body to ensure that promotions and dismissals are fair.

In this regard, the delegation of appointments by the commissions to the government ministries and departments, have carried the danger of undermining the professionalism and impartiality of the police, the public service and the judiciary.

The Public Service Commission should reclaim its duty to interview and appoint all persons within the traditional public service. The Police Service Commission should do the same in relation to the appointment of recruits into the Force. All delegated responsibilities should be recalled, because there are clear signs.
The government recently established a Public Service Staff Training College. This college will effectively become a filter for deciding who enters into the Public Service. It will become a conduit for political appointments to the public service. Recruitments will be done centrally and persons will have to enter the public service, first through the college. The Public Service Commission will have to rubber stamp these appointments.

The Public Service Staff Training College will encourage the political indoctrination of workers. In the past, workers were forced to attend rallies, party congresses and participate in marches which were intended to encourage loyalty and subservience to the ruling elite.

Institutions aimed at militarizing the society are also emerging. The Guyana National Service is going to re-emerge under a different name.

The embryo of the original Guyana National Service was the National Youth Corps. This corps is being re-established. It does not take a genius to predict what this will evolve into.

Already the ideology of persons having to serve the state is remerging.

The Guyana People’s Militia has been re-established. The Broadcast legislation provides for persons with broadcast houses to give back to the State through the airing of undefined public service announcements.

The government was highly critical of contract employment within the public service. Yet, it has been in power for two years and continues to employ persons, including non- technical persons, including clerks, cleaners, office assistants and drivers, on contract. So all the talk about the public service being stacked with political appointees, under the PPPC, via contract employment, was hot air. The APNU+AFC coalition is doing the same.

The number of contract employers under the APNU+AFC government is suspected to be higher than under the PPPC. In addition, a number of new agencies have been established with hand-picked individuals who are not subject to the public service commission.

All of this represents the emasculation of the role of service commissions. These commissions must begin to roll back this erosion of their involvement in appointments. These should now take steps to ensure that they withdraw all delegated duties.

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