Press Release:- The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) is deeply concerned about the impact of the recent transfers and promotions made at senior levels within the Public Service and the negative effects that they may have on some of the individuals involved and on the morale of other public officers in general.
The Acting Comptroller of Customs – Mrs. Anita Montoute has been promoted to the Post of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender affairs and Sustainable Development.
Our information suggests that she is to take up duties as Permanent Secretary in the Department of Sustainable Development which was made vacant by the transfer of the previous holder to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Meanwhile, the former Permanent Secretary (Ag.) in Youth and Sports takes up duties as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness made vacant by the retirement of Mr. Felix St. Hill.
Finally, Mr. Peter Chiquot has been appointed to act as Comptroller of Customs to replace Mrs. Montoute.
On the surface these changes in portfolios and responsibilities may appear quite normal; however in this instance, the CSA must politely ask questions to seek clarification on behalf of our members who are affected by those changes: –
- Why has the Government chosen to promote the acting Comptroller to the post of Permanent Secretary in another Ministry instead of confirming her in the position where she has acted as the Comptroller for an uninterrupted period of two and a half years?
- Is there some ulterior motive behind the sudden change of leadership at Customs? The fact that this is the third acting Comptroller appointed in the last three (3) years creates the impression that something sinister may be taking place.
- Why is there a reluctance to appoint a Comptroller of Customs for a post which has been vacant for more than three (3) years and has been advertised by the Public Service Commission at least on two occasions?
- What is the benefit of transferring a Permanent Secretary from a specialized position for which she is well suited and qualified, to take up responsibilities in an area totally unrelated to her area of competence and expertise?
The real motive behind these maneuverings is shrouded in a cloak of suspicion, when viewed against the background of the recent Cabinet Conclusion No. 855 which had to be revoked because it purported to give Cabinet unconstitutional powers of appointment over public officers.
The CSA notes that the transfer of Permanent Secretaries is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but believes that resources of the State including the human resources, should not be shifted around haphazardly like players in a game of musical chairs for personal and private purposes.
In addition, these ill-advised changes are likely to be disruptive and will negatively impact productivity at a time when we can least afford it.
Notwithstanding, the CSA offers congratulations to our members who have benefitted by way of promotions and empathizes with those members who may be feeling dejected, at having been unilaterally transferred with no regard to their aspirations and personal career goals.
We advise our members to continue to serve with professionalism and always approach their duties with fairness and impartiality.
CSA will be vigilant and will continue to speak out any time the interest of our members are threatened or compromised by the actions of their employer.