A number of workers in the Customs and Immigration departments have received letters advising them that they will be bypassed for promotions despite their bosses admitting that they have performed above average over the years, this according to the Vice President of the Bahamas Customs Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU) Sloane Smith who said that those workers believe that some measure of mischief or political influences may be involved in the promotion process.
“Can you imagine an officer being in the organisation for 13 years and that officer, from the time they entered the department have worked in areas, left for senior persons, and you have somebody come say five years after them and be told that you’re going to be superceded by that person performing the same routine work who have not been exposed to the more senior work,” he questioned.
“It defies logic quite frankly it makes it seem as though, either the department leaders are ignorant of their officers and their abilities or they simply totally ignore the file that is in front of them and if that is the case it calls into question if something is not logically looked at and it does not make sense.
“The only obvious thing you can reasonably conclude is that the concept that mischief may be afoot because to supercede certain persons, its coming from left field really and you would not have expected that when you look at some of these persons, from the workers stand point something is afoot and that something is not in their best interest.”
The BCIAWU vice president added that although he has no concrete evidence of political influences, he hopes that this is not the case.
“We also recognise that clearly from the political side of it there may be an interest of the political side to put persons who they feel are ‘they’re people’ so to speak,” he said.
“As it relates to political involvement, that may very well be the case and quite frankly some of the officers have already expressed that and certainly the union don’t stand for that.”
According to Mr. Smith the letters were distributed by the Immigration Director William Pratt and Customs Comptroller Charles Turner.
“They would have quoted a part of General Orders that talks about promotions, is not given solely on the basis of excellence or performance or work in the present post but also the ability to satisfactory meet the requirements of the high office and the problem with that is it comes off as pretty subjective in that, how many of those persons have been trained for the higher office?” he asked.
“The department certainly has a responsibility to at least provide that type of training for the higher office, now you come with a promotional exercise, the officers clearly have a right to question what criteria is being used if in fact you’re saying to them that they’ve performed excellent in the present post, and it seems to me the only way you can know if a person can perform in a higher post is if you’ve had direct link with that person and you’ve observed what they would have done in the past, so the letter suggest that he process itself is flawed so rightly so you can expect the customs and immigration staff to complain if you’re proposing to supercede them.”
Overall, he added that he is pleased to know that workers were given 14 days to respond and hopefully they would be able to express their concerns with being superceded and fairly assess them.
Mr. Smith said he hopes that the department is objective enough to not only have them respond in writing but to pay attention to what they say and assess on the validity of it based on their records.