The Government of Guyana (GoG) says that there is nothing sinister afoot with the closing of the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service. In a statement last night, the Ministry of Public Service said that the institution was established as a “political machinery” for the former A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government.

The Ministry’s statement comes some hours after the former Public Service Minister, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, issued a statement saying that the closure was a “suppression of the Public Service”.

The college was indeed established under the former regime, and is listed as a significant achievement of the coalition.

But the Ministry contends that college “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,” the Ministry noted.

It further stated that in excess of $80M was spent to rehabilitate a building at Ogle, East Coast Demerara to house the training, when for many years there existed, and still exists, an active Training Division at the Ministry of Public Service.

“Therefore, the Staff College sought to duplicate and supersede the Ministry’s Training Division,” the Ministry argued.

It further revealed that the annual budget for the Staff College in 2017 was a whopping $175.8M and $143.6M in 2018. Also, 99% 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,” it was noted.

The Ministry said that it will be following the promises made in its manifesto, that 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”.


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