Categorized | National News

PLP Election Hires Cost $16 Million

The Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) extra hires during the last election season cost the country more than $16 million.


This information was revealed last week in the House of Assembly by Minister of State for the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle, who said between December 2016 and May 2017, the public purse ballooned by $16,532,738 because of the Christie administration’s hiring of new public service workers during that period.

In June, he told parliament that the cost to Bahamians of such increases was just over $10 million.


The revision comes after he included more than 1,700 workers that were not in his original count.


“I did not include the 151 immigration workers in that account, neither did I include the 123 customs officers that were hired,” he said. “A responsible government would not take individuals off the street and place them in a space that is extremely sensitive as customs and immigration is, without having regard for a check, a simple vetting.


“I am told by the professionals in the service that they advised the government not to take this course, but the class started for customs the Monday morning and persons were advised up to Sunday night, you are in that class, go in that class. The result of that was that some of the individuals who were placed in that programme, even though they had successfully completed the course, could not be recognized as customs or immigration officers; they’re called casual workers.”


Amid the PLP’s criticism of the Minnis administration because of its firings of public service workers, Mr. Rolle painted a picture of a public service where longstanding hiring rules were ignored or abused, especially in the lead-up to the general election.


Mr. Rolle said the Christie administration’s actions led him to believe that it “embarked on a mission to perhaps destroy the public service by creating a parallel public service.”


“This parallel system was created through the widespread use of hiring persons on contract at all levels, notwithstanding the policy that people are hired on contract where their skills and experience cannot be found in the service,” he said. “This includes, but certainly is not limited to the return of public officers who are paid their salaries which were more than their retiring salaries, plus a pension and a gratuity at the end of their pension. Imagine a retired permanent secretary who retired from the service making $70,000 a year,” Mr. Rolle said.


“If they served for 30 years, their pension would be $70,000 and they receive for example a two-year contract from the government. At the end of the contract they must receive a gratuity of 15 per cent. When I see members coming here jumping up saying, ‘We don’t care about the civil service,’ I just remind them that in 2008 the Government of The Bahamas decided that you just cannot have both; you either had pension or gratuity, but you can’ have both.”


Mr. Rolle said he missed the extra 1,700 people in his original count because “these are people who were sent to work, but were not given a letter, were not told where they ought to go or what they ought to do.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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