Press Statement to clarify several misconceptions surrounding the closure of the Bertram Collins Staff College
The Ministry of Public Service wishes to clarify several misconceptions surrounding the closure of the Bertram Collins Staff College being peddled on Social Media by categorically stating that such closure had absolutely no sinister or political motive behind it.
In fact, the Staff College was established as a political machinery for the APNU/AFC and produced an outcome contrary to fair recruitment practices. As a matter of fact, sixty (60) persons were processed per year to enter the Public Service at a Clerk III position, bypassing those experienced in a Clerk II position who earned less and in turn had to train the very persons coming out of the college.
This is also contrary to a statement by the former Minister of Public Service, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley in the Guyana Chronicle on December 13, 2019 where she was quoted as saying, “it is the vision of the president as well as mine that the Bertram Collins College would be the premier training institution for all levels of the public service in this country.”
The fact these persons instead were only entering the public service at the entry level, is a clear indication that entity was never intended to be a national institution, but rather a political machinery of the APNU/AFC.
Further, in excess of $80M was spent to rehabilitate one building at Ogle to house the training when for many years there existed, and still exists, an active Training Division at the Ministry of Public Service which conducts induction and staff development programmes intended to achieve the very outcome of professionalism. Therefore, the Staff College sought to duplicate and supersede the Ministry’s Training Division.
The annual budget for the Staff College in 2017 was a whopping $175.8M and $143.6M in 2018. Ninety-nine per cent of the staff were on contract with 50% being retirees. Recurrent expenses, that is, salaries for the staff, collectively amounted to in excess of $87M yearly. Exorbitant sums of money were being bled from the Treasury to sustain the College.
Notably, there was no recruitment of trainees for the year 2020-2021 and those who completed in the year 2020 were placed in the Public Sector. As a matter of public record, Vice President, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had announced since last year, the closure of this poorly-structured college which was designed as a political tool for the APNU/AFC.
The Ministry also wishes to categorically state that in keeping with the Government’s manifesto and its wider vision for our country, there will be a structural overhaul in training programmes geared towards advanced national training in relevant and priority areas within the Public Sector which will be catered for in the 2021 budget.
Further, the Ministry calls on all Guyanese to ignore the dishonest ramblings and divisive tactics of a desperate few who are seeking to gain political mileage by misrepresenting facts.