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Statement On Permanent Secretary Seibert Frederick Being Sent On Leave

An article in the May 14th edition of the Daily Nation could lead readers to believe that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Seibert Frederick was sent on leave as a punitive measure for some breach of rules of the Public Service.

Any person coming to such a conclusion would be completely wrong.

PS Frederick, a veteran of the Public Service, had accumulated 198 days (approximately six months) of vacation leave that was still to be taken, having not taken any holiday for the past three years.

Additionally, the Ministry of the Public Service has no record of Mr Frederick having applied for a deferment of leave as required.

In any event, since he will reach the age of 67 years on September 30, 2019, when compulsory retirement will kick in, the ministry had no choice but to ask Mr Frederick to take the outstanding leave from Monday May 13, 2019, in order that all time owed would be exhausted by the effective date of his retirement.

While the newspaper article said PS Frederick expressed shock at the short notice of the correspondence, which he said did not allow him the opportunity to say goodbye to his staff, senior officials reported that prior to going on leave the Director General in the Ministry of the Public Service, Gail Atkins, discussed the issue on the telephone with him.

Additionally, last Friday, prior to dispatching the letter directly to Mr Frederick by messenger, out of respect, the next most senior officer in the Ministry of the Public Service in the absence of the Director General also discussed the issue with Mr Frederick on the telephone, explaining that based on instructions, deferment at this stage was not an option.

Every effort was made by officials at Ministry to honour the exemplary service and seniority of Mr Frederick as a public officer for the past four decades, and to ensure that as an individual he was shown the respect that should be accorded every officer in the Public Service.

In the final analysis though, it has to be recognized that for the Public Service to function effectively and fairly, order has to be a hallmark of the way each officer performs his or her duties, regardless of that person’s status.

Roy R. Morris
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister

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