The Bahamas Information Services released the following statement by Minister of State Pia Glover-Rolle, responding to hiring claims made by former Public Service Minister Benzil Rolle. Mr. Rolle claimed that the Minister of State was not speaking the truth when she said that the FNM made scores of pre-election hires with no work for them to do. Mr. Rolle of course was among the dimmest of the FNM ministers and that is putting it mildly. The Minister responded as follows:
Firstly, if Mr. Rolle wishes to ‘fire back’ at me, a good place to start is to provide a plausible explanation for the displacement of more than 2,500 public servants within six months of the FNM coming to office in 2017 – according to the Department of Statistics.
Secondly, notwithstanding media claims and denials attributed to the former Public Service Minister, the unvarnished facts are as follows:
Two hundred and thirty-three (233) persons were approved by the former government for employment in July 2021, just two months before the 16th September General Elections. Of that amount, eighty-five (85) remain unposted because upon assuming office, an immediate hold was placed on those hires pending a status review.
Sixty-eight (68) persons hired just prior to the General Elections, mostly in the Family Islands, were already placed on the government’s payroll, however, they are under review due to gross attendance irregularities.
I note that the persons mentioned above exclude those unposted for reasons of unvaccination.
Further, the matter of contract extensions executed in the days and weeks prior to the General Elections is a separate matter.
I also point out to Mr. Rolle that it is ‘egregious’ and ‘disgraceful’ to give persons “official letters” of employment, but with nowhere to report, or to have them report to agencies that in turn send them back to the Public Service. Mr. Rolle must answer for this.
Responsible hiring practices call for the placement of individuals in posts that are needed, complete with established and approved job descriptions and not rushed hiring of individuals for posts that are unavailable.
Additionally, responsible leadership in public administration demands that the engagement of skilled workers in critical areas that lead to defined career paths should be the standard practice if we are committed to building organizational capacity to consistently improve on the delivery of public goods and services.
Regrettably, all indications are that the hiring decisions by the former Minister in the lead up to the General Elections smacked of electioneering, heavily influenced by political considerations and nothing Mr. Rolle said to the media in his defence remotely addressed or refuted the facts as presented above.
We however remain committed to addressing these issues in an efficient and objective manner and will provide further updates to the public as soon as practicable.”