All Office of the President staff to return to work full-time; McCoy says citizens are demanding services
In a departure from the rotation arrangement in which public servants have been working in recent months, the Office of the President has issued a memo asking for all of its staff members to return to work on a full-time basis.
This comes even as Guyana has recorded its deadliest month for COVID – 19 with a major spike in the number of COVID – 19 cases and deaths for September.
The memo is also flouting the Government’s own gazetted COVID-19 guidelines which clearly state that all persons employed within the Public Service, a semi-autonomous agency, statutory body or State-owned enterprise shall work on rotation.
Minister with responsibility for government information Kwame McCoy has explained that the move to have all staff return to work is in keeping with the Government’s push to gradually reopen the country and in a bid to ensure that services are provided to the people of Guyana.
“We have issued the circular and we expect the staff to cooperate,” McCoy said.
The issue was first raised by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon during a virtual press conference on Friday.
McCoy acknowledged that while public servants were asked to return to work on a rotation basis, the delivery of services to citizens has been severely affected and, in some cases, stalled for several months.
“People are back to demanding services in the normal fashion and we are experiencing a situation where people who are supposed to provide these services in the Ministries and Government departments are not at work,” McCoy explained.
McCoy told the News Room that even the use of virtual technology has not been useful and practical in all cases.
“You would appreciate that even though we had rotation system in place for workers, many of them have not honoured what the system requires them to do. Many of them use this occasion to abscond from work on days and times when they should be at work and I don’t want to be harsh but this has been the experience in many instances,” McCoy said.
The Minister said that the more urgent need is to provide service to the people of Guyana.
“They [Guyanese] have gone through a long and tedious period coming from elections to where we are today and they are anxious to get out of the situation where we can get back gradually to normalcy,” he explained.
While staff will be returning to the same environment that they left, McCoy assured that there are intentions to sanitize the workplace and offer care packages to staff.
He said they will be assisted in practising the established protocols of washing hands and wearing masks.
The Minister further said that the experience where services are affected goes across the Government sector and the Office of the President has taken the lead in what will happen in other Ministries and Government agencies in coming weeks.