Live Press Conference – July 11, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE HON. TABITHA SARABO HALLEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE, MINISTRY OF THE PRESIDENCY

JULY 11, 2019

Good Morning members of the media, welcome to this my first press conference as Minister of the Public Service.  I was sworn in as Minister of the Public Service on May 2nd 2019 by His Excellency President David Arthur Granger. Since that time I have met with all staff of the Department of Public Service, The Public Service Commission and the Senior Staff of the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service. These meetings helped to highlight the current standings, challenges and areas of focus of the various sections and also assisted me in recognizing the current gaps that exist and what is necessary at this stage to ensure that the Department of the Public Service is efficient and is able to fulfill its mandate.

The Mandate of the Department of the Public Service include:

  • Managing the Public Service of Guyana through the provision of professional personnel, training and consultancy services to Ministries, Departments and Regional Administrations.
  • Advising the Government on the personnel requirements of the Public Service.
  • Implementing relevant initiatives to achieve modernization of the Public Service.
  • Effectively utilizing scholarship awards to ensure sectoral and policy priorities are reflected.

The Public Service Commission

This however should be distinguished from the role and responsibilities of the Public Service Commission which include: recruitment, promotions, dismissals, resignations, secondment, reclassifications, transfers, acting appointments, and disciplinary matters, extension of sick leave, superannuation benefits and vacancy circulars.

In most instances the Public Service Commission has to initiate an action which then allows the Department of Public Service to act.

National Skills Need Assessment

Providing professional personnel training and consultancy services to the various Ministries, departments and regional administration and the effective use of our scholarships will be guided by a workforce needs and training assessment. Cabinet has approved a request by the Department of the Public Service for the commissioning of a National Human Resources Needs Survey – the development of a national training plan by sectors to guide public investment in human capital, regular publication of labour market information to encourage private investment as government alone will be hard pressed to satisfy public and especially private sector needs and the design of an immigration policy to support the acquisition of skills and talents for national development.

The main objective for the aforementioned is to quantify and qualify the national skills, talent and competency needs of the economy, in order to satisfy the workforce and training needs. As may be evident here this approval would see the cooperation of a number of sectors.

Re-Installment of a Management Services Unit

His Excellency President David Granger has consented to the re-establishment of the Management Services Unit of the Department of the Public Service. In the past this unit assessed the organizational design and skills required to deliver government’s programmes and the flow of information supporting the execution of programmes. A new Management Services Unit would review organizational structures and design with a view of bringing them in line with their human resources capability to implement Government’s policies and strategies, review job descriptions to bring them in line with the skills and talents to meet organizational mandates among others.  Thus the specific objectives of the Management Services Unit would be to build capacity of the Department of Public Service to respond to the skill and talent needs required to execute government’s policies and strategies and develop a rapid assessment capability to respond to emergent skills and talent needs.

Scholarships

The process of whom and how persons receive scholarships has constantly been in the headlines. There is a formal process for persons to be granted scholarships that have been advertised by this department. As previously mentioned, the recognition that an all encompassing needs assessment survey has not been done, some of the needs of the public service and the country are overlooked by the department. Guyanese have thus on numerous occasions applied for various programmes then saught scholarships from the government to assist them. For example, I have before me a request to do a MSc in Taxation which has been consented to by the relevant head of department who has recognized and adequately justified it as a need for that sector.  If funds are available to acquiesce to that request should we as a department discard it simply because the assessment done internally was not able to capture that programme as a need? This has occurred and will occur until a proper human resource needs survey is done which can guide the department. I am therefore pleased to announce that all scholarships granted during my tenure as Minister of the Public Service will be made public as the scholarships are being funded by public monies and citizens have a right to know who has received scholarships and for what programme.

I am also pleased to announce that the process for application is open for a number of Scholarships at the Undergraduate and Master’s Degree level at the University of Guyana for the 2019/2020 academic year.

At the Undergraduate level the following fields are open for application 

Accountancy (BSc.), Agriculture (BSc.),  Management (BSc.), Civil Engineering (BEng.), Computer Science (BSc.), Food Science (B.A), Geography (BSc.), Information Technology (BSc.), Mechanical Engineering (BEng.), Medicine (MBBS.), Petroleum Engineering (BSc.), Public Management (BSc.), Sociology (BSc.), Supply Chain Management (BSc.), Youth & Community Development (BA.)

Key Eligibility requirements for Undergrad Applicants are

  • Applicants must obtain admission to the University of Guyana for the required program.
  • Current students must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.8 or above.
  • Applicants must be 35 years or under and be in good health to complete the program successfully.
  • Applicant must have a valid Guyana Passport

At the post graduate level:

  • Environmental Management – Specialization in Climate Change & Disaster Management (MSc.)
  • Environmental Management – Specialization in Natural Resources Management (MSc.)
  • Petroleum Engineering (MSc.)
  • Master of Social Work

Key Eligibility requirements for Applicants:

  • Applicants must obtain admission to the University of Guyana for the required program.
  • Applicants must have obtained their Bachelor’s Degree within the last five (5) years with a minimum Grade Point Average of 2.8
  • Applicants must be 35 years or under and be in good health to complete the program successfully.
  • Applicant must have a valid Guyana Passport

Time taken to receive your first salary

Many Public Servants have reiterated the issue of having to work for 3 months before being paid. I have thus far found no rule or policy that substantiates this. I find this practice unconscionable and thus should no longer be a practice in any government agency after the month of July. I am working with my staff to remove this bugbear from those who are desirous of joining the Public Service. So, going forward no one should have to wait beyond one month of being hired to receive their first salary.

Thank you.