Categorized | National News

‘Govt Action a Farce,’ Says Mitchell

Senator Fred Mitchell called the government’s verification process “farcical” and “a bunch of bull” after he received a letter demanding that he verifies.

The senator said he would have ignored the “ridiculous” letter, but the deputy prime minister defended the verification process by explaining that the government is carrying out the process to ensure that there are no “ghost workers.”

A public notice from the Ministry of Finance, issued recently, called for the verification of all government monthly and weekly employed public officers, senators and members of parliament, including persons located overseas.  This also includes judges of the courts.

The notice stated that “persons who fail to present themselves to be verified will have their salary interrupted from September 2017 until such time as they comply with the verification and reinstatement process.”

However, Mitchell said, “Surely the government has taken leave of its collective senses. As a matter of law, if someone works for their pay there is no basis on which you can deny that person their pay. Also in this day and age, the government can surely be more sensitive and respectful than arranging yet another indignity for ordinary people standing on long lines to prove who they are.

“I have been advised by the lawyers that the government has no basis to deny anyone their pay if they work for their pay simply because they fail to comply with coming to some remote centre in order to identify who they are. This adds now to the list of indignities and disrespect that working people in this country have to put up with from an idle bureaucracy, supported by an equally idle political directorate.

“What is laughable is when you go down the list and see the centres, you will find that the centre at C. R. Walker Senior High School is for ‘The Governor General and Staff.’ Presumably this means that Dame Marguerite Pindling, well known to all, the person who appoints the public servants, must now go to C.R. Walker to identify herself to the treasurer or the governor general’s pay will be ‘interrupted.’ She will presumably get on the line before the prime minister, the Cabinet, the senators and MPs who will follow behind her with their documents. They are listed as being required to go to the same centres.

“This is farcical on its face. It is a bunch of bull, pardon the indelicacy.”

Mitchell pointed out that Parliament was convened for the first time after the general elections on May 24 and at that time, each senator and member of parliament was asked to complete paper work for their bank account information and their national insurance information.

He added that the responsible officers in each chamber are the clerk of the Senate and the clerk of the House of Assembly who received the information.

“Eight weeks later give or take a few days, these same people are being asked to verify who they are. Stultus est,” Mitchell said.

“The law is clear though, if you do not pay people for their work earned, the government can face court action and damages for failure to pay. The government should seriously rethink this matter.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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