Gov’t “unequivocally value public servants” – Minister Parag
– New public servants to get first salary within ‘reasonable time’
The three-month wait by new public servants to receive their first salary will soon be a thing of the past, as government seeks to amend a motion to pay salaries within a “reasonable time”.
Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag made the disclosure during her debate of the motion which was brought to the National Assembly by Opposition Member of Parliament, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, requesting ‘payment of first salary to public servants within one month.’
The motion states that, “the National Assembly advises the Government of Guyana to ensure that public servants receive their first paycheck no more than one month after commencement of their employment in the public sector.”
Minister Parag in response said, “I am going to move an amendment that was distributed in parliament to the motion that was raised by the honourable member.”
According to the minister, government does not want public servants waiting a long period before they receive their first salary. She stressed that the PPP/C Administration “unequivocally values public servants” for the work they do to keep the wheels of government turning.
“This government does not want public servants waiting three months to be paid. They do not even want to see public servants wait for two months to be paid. Mr. Speaker, there is a process, if you are on a new employment list or recruitment and have to go through a process, the agency has to present your name and that has to be done in a timely manner,” Minister Parag stated.
She explained that there are several processes that must take place before someone is added to the payroll.
Nevertheless, the minister said systems are in place to ensure persons are paid while they work.
She said for the opposition to claim government does not care about public servants is “absolute rubbish,” pointing out that during its time in government, the previous APNU+AFC Administration did nothing to assist public servants.
Adding context, Minister Parag said the very opposition member who brought the motion, while in government, sent out a circular in December 2019 calling for the three months wait for salary for new employees to be seized.
However, that circular had no timeline stating when new public servants should be paid.
“Mr. Speaker, based on our amendment, I am saying that we are going to work collaboratively with all agencies to ensure that within a reasonable time after the request has been sent to be able to get persons their salaries,” the public service minister said.
She said since government took office, it has visited every region and every community giving assistance to public servants, farmers, children and the vulnerable. She assured that this administration will fix all bottlenecks in the system.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha in his remarks said while the opposition is trying to show care for public servants, the APNU+AFC Administration placed on the breadline 1,972 Community Service Officers and 7,500 sugar workers during their time in office.
Government, he said, since taking office has restored those jobs and more.
He said efforts are being made to ensure new public servants receive their first salary within a reasonable time.
“There is no policy in the government to give workers three months, we will ensure reasonable time… we will ensure that we protect the rights of workers of this country”, he said. Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton, adding to the debate, supported the stance taken by Minister Parag, making it clear that the matter at hand will be addressed.