Cleaning the Public Service

The APNU/AFC Coalition is coming across loud and clear that the public service, the Army and the Police Force, are to be populated by Afro-Guyanese.
This has been the historic position of the People’s National Congress while in office and now it is the position of APNU, which is basically the People’s National Congress/Reform.

The purging of hundreds of Indo-Guyanese from the Public Service by the Coalition government since taking office has reinforced that perception.

Although the imbalance prevailed while the British were here, since Independence, there have been calls for a semblance of balance in the public service to reflect in some notional way the general ethnic make- up of the Guyanese society.

The two decades of the PPP/C administration saw a number of indo-Guyanese being attracted to public service and state sector but not in numbers that had any significant effect of the ethnic make-up of the public service.

Even so, it was deemed necessary by the Coalition to remove any semblance of balance or any notion of fairness in employment opportunities in the public service.

The bulk of the Amerindians and Indo-Guyanese who went into the public service has been moved out in one sweep. A few remained and their removal presented the government with some obvious complexities and so they are still on the job. Some of them are high profile personalities in high profile jobs.

All the Indo-Guyanese who held top positions in state entities such as Guysuco, GWI, and GPL have been removed.
In practically in all instances the Indo-Guyanese who were removed from the Public Service were replaced by Afro-Guyanese.

There are indications that the percentage of Indo-Guyanese in the Police Force, has been reduced within the last eighteen months.

In recent weeks the government has made moves to remove the remaining few and these have attracted widespread attention.

The most recent one involves former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Cecil Kennard, a distinguished jurist who had contributed to Guyana for some five decades.

The government has now, in indecent haste, forcing him out of his present position as Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority. He was given just a few hours to vacate the job. The President, David Granger, told the public that Kennard is too old for the job.

Also, during the past week, efforts have been intensified by the government to remove the Deputy Solicitor General, Ms. Prithima Kissoon. The government has barefacedly suggested that this public servant has been deliberately helping the political opposition to win court cases. On the contrary, the ineptitude of the present Attorney General seems to the cause of the government’s dilemma in the courts. It is obvious that the stage is being set for Kissoon to be forced off the job.

The government has been even more barefaced in its attitude toward the current Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh. Government representatives and the state-owned newspaper launched out on a vicious attack on him and his integrity as a jurist.

A few weeks ago there were vague hints at getting rid of former Attorney General, Charles Ramson, who now occupies the position of Commissioner of Information.

Another Indo-Guyanese, prominent jurist, Justice Prem Persaud, who heads the Public Utilities Commission, has been asked to leave.

These attempts to clean the public service, when taken in the context of the coalition’s vindictiveness shown towards the sugar and rice industries, populated mainly by Indo-Guyanese, point to deliberate policy of racial discrimination.
The government feels comfortable in proceeding with such policies because it feels that its main support base of Afro-Guyanese will not offer any protest.

Government policies and practices that are based on discrimination in a multi-ethnic society will have negative implications.

The government’s practices are hurting practically everyone, especially the working classes and farmers. These sections of the population are multi-ethnic in nature and all would be affected. It is time for all those affected to say “This is enough!”