Prime Minister David Thompson, on tour of the Ministry of the Civil Service with Chief Personnel Officer, Gail Atkins. Also pictured is Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Sen. Irene Sandiford-Garner.
Some 1600 public servants have already been appointed as a result of the new Public Service Act which was passed last year and another 600 are expected to have security of tenure by the end of March.
This was disclosed today by Chief Personnel Officer, Gail Atkins, who was speaking to the media after a tour of the Ministry of the Civil Service by Prime Minister David Thompson.
Noting that the majority of appointments had been completed, Ms. Atkins said that procedures for clerical officers, who constituted the largest category, as well as teachers at both the primary and secondary levels were also being expedited.
The Prime Minister said he was extremely happy about the appointments, especially since persons would now be “settling their lives” by securing loans, building houses and contributing to the economy generally.
He noted that even though the work of the Ministry had increased significantly in order to facilitate the appointments, the process had been moving quite smoothly in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Mr. Thompson pointed out, however, that there were some concerns about the Act which government was seeking to address. “In seeking to achieve the objectives of the Act, obviously it has not synthesised as easily into the pre-existing legal arrangements, and we have to make sure that you don’t end-up with two tiers or a bifurcated civil service and that we can integrate it effectively,” he stated.
Ms. Atkins added that one of the areas of concern was the provision in the Act that acting and temporary appointments should not exceed a period of three months.
“You can appreciate that an officer’s appointment may be extended within a post. Therefore, the appointment might go for more than three months, and in terms of the turnaround time that it would take to approve those successive appointments, that is one of the things that we need to change, to give us a longer time, so that we can effectively manage the matter of processing appointments,” the Chief Personnel Officer explained.