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Georges flays ‘Ministers’ in 2011 Complaints report

- expresses disappointment in senior officials at dealings with public & Commission
Complaints Commissioner, Mr Elton Georges. Photo:VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Cold water may have been poured on any thoughts of a public spat between Commissioner of the Complaints Commission, Mr Elton Georges and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Dr Kedrick Pickering following the latter’s charges aimed at Georges during the recent sitting of the House of Assembly.

This, however, does not nullify the clear thrust of the Commissioner’s thinking regarding senior government functionaries in the Complaints Commission Report of 2011, which was laid in the House of Assembly during its most recent sitting held on December 17, 2012.

Georges was firm in his disclosure that one of the continuing disappointments experienced by his commission during 2010 was “the setting of bad examples in the area of response by a few very senior officials, including some Ministers, in their dealings with the public and with the Commission.

Once again, no names were called in the Commissioner’s report as he sought to highlight kinks in the circumstances surrounding the Complaints Commission.

He regarded the situation as a ‘sad’ development; especially since, according to Commissioner Georges, “it directly demonstrates that they do not subscribe to the values of good administrative practice and service delivery and so see nothing wrong with maladministration”.

Commissioner Georges was recently called out by Hon. Pickering for his “schoolboy way of writing memo, trying to frighten off people…” and encouraged to change his approach. “He and I could debate it over a cup of juice,” the Deputy Premier had said in the House of Assembly.

Hon. Pickering was critical of the Commissioner’s formal method of communication to Heads of Department, noting that a “simple question” by phone instead of a “long memo literally castigating the Head of Department” would perhaps be more suitable under the circumstances. “…it goes on the individual’s file, it’s demeaning, we can’t run a country like that,” was the conviction of Hon. Pickering.

The Complaints Commissioner subsequently issued a non-directed response wherein he noted that successive Governments have failed to appoint the key body of the Labour Code, 2010: the Arbitral Tribunal; a situation Hon. Pickering described as causing “serious difficulty” after failing to appoint a head of the tribunal even with a shortage of applicants lining up for the post.

After one applicant declined the position, Hon. Pickering told the House of Assembly (HOA), “since then we have been butting our heads trying to find somebody to head the Dispute Tribunal but [Commissioner Georges] keeps writing in his Memo about we need to refer...what we going to refer to this Tribunal when we don’t have any?”

According to the report, Georges found further disappointment in “the unwillingness of departments and public officials to redress wrongs and to put in place structural changes to promote good administration”. He singled out the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) as a welcome exception.

Georges also charged in his report, that there was a lack of interest in the Commission’s work on the part of the HOA, both as an institution and as individual members. “It is small comfort,” he continued, “that this is a Caribbean wide phenomenon.”

He further identified the Service Charters as continuing evidence of “much window dressing” and never meant to be followed.

Georges also cited the “lack of sustained, targeted support from Cabinet members and the Governor” as to the implementation of his recommendations as another continuing disappointment; a failure to obtain approval to strengthen the office by funding a fourth position that would enable the Commission to hire a lawyer so as to more effectively discharge its statutory duties and produce sounder investigations and conclusions was also equally disappointing.

8 Responses to “Georges flays ‘Ministers’ in 2011 Complaints report ”

  • home boy (27/12/2012, 16:11) Like (0) Dislike (32) Reply
    enough of Elton!!
  • qc (27/12/2012, 17:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • DA VOICE (27/12/2012, 18:06) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    its been three years now i connot get my labor dispute settle. not sure what is going on?
  • Not2Sure (27/12/2012, 20:29) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Elton's job is to hold Government to account. It sounds like he is doing the job just the way he was meant to. Not sure if the Ministers are doing theirs though.
  • ABC (27/12/2012, 23:56) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I commend the Complaints Commissioner for his willingness to call a spade a spade. What we are witnessing here is an out of control Government with the propensity to call right wrong and wrong right. And Mr. Commissioner, I must bring to your attention a few of the most blatent cases which may have escaped your attention.
    Immediately following the election, the Acting Chief Engineer PWD was relieved of his position and replaced with some one with NO qualification. That Department is now disfunctional on account of lack of leadership amounst other things.
    The Acting Chief Engineer for Water and Sewage has been side lined and again replaced with one who has never held a senior position in Government and never worked in that Department. This comes at a critical time in the life of that Department.
    Quite recently, the Ports Authority was the recipient of a new Managing Director who has absolutely no knowledge about port operation let alone managing one. He will shortly be assisted by one who is qualified to run a beach bar.
    A former employee of FSC who is now a Member of the House of Assembly, has been retained by FSC to carryout the same work he was previously employed to do. The only difference being, he will be payed three times as much and at the same time will enjoy the full salary and allowances of a Member of the House.
    Mr. Commissioner, I know that you have worked at all levels in the service and therefore need no advice on matters of this nature. Based on the contents of your report, it is clear that you are being treated with contempt by the powers that be. Nevertheless, it is my hope that the cases of injustice which I have brought to your attention would be investigated and documented if only for the records. These acts of injustice are being brought to your attention as it is crystal clear that left to the Governor or Deputy Governor nothing will be done.
  • My girl (28/12/2012, 01:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do unto others before they do unto you

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