Tue | Nov 12, 2019

Boards and public service politicised – Narcisse

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:22 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer

Civil-society advocate Carol Narcisse is adamant that administrative issues playing out at entities such as the Jamaica Fire Brigade and earlier at Petrojam Limited are because the public service has been politicised.

“This is a process that has been under way for several decades. We have politicised the service so that boards are essentially made up of people who are aligned or sympathetic to a party and people are put in post as a reward for political loyalty. It has gone on unchecked for such an extended period and across both parties that it is now entrenched.

“So people are not there doing what is in the country’s interest; people are there doing what is in a party’s interest and what is in the interest of the affiliates of their party,” said Narcisse.

It was revealed in a March 3 Sunday Gleaner article that the Jamaica Fire Brigade was the latest government-run entity to have breached several public service stipulations by promoting persons without following protocol, and placing persons in positions without the required qualifications or experience.

Should ‘Feel it in their pockets’

Narcisse added that the liability and the consequences for these poor and costly decisions to taxpayers should have a financial consequence on the people who had made those decisions.

“The consequences for breaches also need to be strengthened and the provisions that exist. For example, where people’s actions have resulted in improper use of funds, that they feel it in their pockets – they have to pay it back. A person improperly employed and paid for a period of time, a head of department who made that decision or a board that made that decision is liable financially – you would see people functioning in a different way,” she said.

Narcisse said she was disappointed with how muted the voice of the single anti-corruption agency, the Integrity Commission, has been rendered by the legislation that governs it.

“The oversight agencies need to be completely unfettered by any law in their ability to share the findings of their investigation with the public so that public pressure becomes a constant part of the equation,” said Narcisse.