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PSC shocker! - Ishmael Scatliffe out! Keturah Crabbe in!

- Governor Boyd McCleary snubs civil servants' nomination!
The re-nomination of Ishmael Scatliffe (right) by the Civil Service Association (CSA) to serve on the Public Service Commission was rejected by Governor Boyd McCleary. The Governor has the power under the constitution to not accept the nominee of the CSA, however, his decision was blasted by many civil servants as not the practice of good governance, tradition and transparency. Instead, the Governor has nominated retired Human Resources Officer Keturah Crabbe. Photo of Crabbe: VINO Team of Reporters
Governor Boyd McCleary (right) angered the CSA when he rejected their nominee to sit on the Public Service Commission. While the Governor has the power to not accept the nominee after consultation with the CSA, many constitutional experts described this heavy handed approach as unwise in the light the all of the PSC decisions only affect one group the civil servants. Ms. Tasha Bertie, the CSA President said she had no statements to make at this time on the issue. In effect the governor has now appointed 3 out of 5 members of the PSC, and some have questioned, if this is an example of good governance, democracy and fairness often talked about by the same governor!
Governor Boyd McCleary (right) angered the CSA when he rejected their nominee to sit on the Public Service Commission. While the Governor has the power to not accept the nominee after consultation with the CSA, many constitutional experts described this heavy handed approach as unwise in the light the all of the PSC decisions only affect one group the civil servants. Ms. Tasha Bertie, the CSA President said she had no statements to make at this time on the issue. In effect the governor has now appointed 3 out of 5 members of the PSC, and some have questioned, if this is an example of good governance, democracy and fairness often talked about by the same governor!
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - In what many political, legal and social commentators are describing as an unprecedented move by the United Kingdom appointed Governor, it’s this news site’s understanding from our team of reporters around the Virgin Islands and many public officers close to this matter, that the Governor has rejected the re-nomination of the Civil Service Association’s (CSA) choice Ishmael Scatliffe to serve on the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Mr. Scatliffe’s term had expired and was strongly backed by the CSA for another five-year term on the powerful PSC. Sources said Mr. Scatliffe has already received his letter ending his tenure on the body. Many civil servants see this as a snub by the Governor, for not accepting the candidate of the Civil Service union.

Instead, the Governor has used his powers to appoint retired Human Resources Department Officer Keturah Crabbe, despite written objections from the CSA.

An appointment letter has already been issued to Mrs. Crabbe, according to this news site’s well-placed sources. It is believed that Mrs. Crabbe will sit on the Commission at this week’s meeting.

In effect, it gives Governor Boyd McCleary three nominations out of five on the body, a move many have described as “unfair and suspicious” and lacks the principle of good governance.

Tasha Bertie, the CSA President, when reached by telephone told this news site she had no statement to make at this time.

It is also this news site’s understanding that a previous CSA Executive held discussions with the former Governor David Peary on the possibility of replacing Ishmael Scatliffe who had served on the PSC for a number of years as the CSA representative, however, no decision was taken as to a new nominee. Mr. Scatliffe was given an extension for the former CSA administration headed by Shaina Smith, who was to return to the former Governor with a new nominee, according to a well-placed source inside the CSA.

However, when the new CSA Administration took office earlier this year, they stood by Mr. Scatliffe, who many public officers regarded as a fighter for the civil servants and re-nominated him. The current CSA Executive position was made clear to the current Governor.

What does the Constitution say about the PSC and the Governor’s powers?

Under section 91 of the Virgin Islands’ Constitutional Order of 2007 it states: (1) There shall be in and for the Virgin Islands a Public Service Commission which shall consist of five members, of whom— (a) two shall be appointed by the Governor, acting in his or her discretion; (b) one shall be appointed by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier; (c) one shall be appointed by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and

(d) one shall be appointed by the Governor, acting after consultation with the Civil Service Association;

In other words in item (d) as it relates to the CSA, it’s just after consultation therefore, the Governor is not bounded according to legal option giving to him to accept the CSA nomination. One Constitutional expert told this news site that the governor was acting “within his powers”, however, traditions, convention, transparency and good governance will at least dictate that he listens to the voice of the civil servants, as they are the only group affected by the decisions of the PSC and his move is not in keeping with these principles. The learned Attorney said, “maybe he has information where the re-nomination of Mr. Scatliffe might have been ultra virus to Her Majesty’s government”.

When contacted by this news site, Governor McCleary said he had “no comments at this time”, and, if anything changes he will contact us. To date, no calls have been forthcoming from him or his office.

The Constitution also gives the Governor the power after consultation with the Premier, to appoint one of the five members of the Public Service Commission to be Chairman of the Commission.

Can the Governor or elected officials interfere in the work of the PSC or summons them to meetings?

The framers of the constitution set up the PSC as an independent body free from all interference, be it from the Governor, Deputy Governor, senior civil servants, political, interest groups or otherwise. The Constitution clearly states in section 91 (9); Subject to this Constitution, in the exercise of its functions the Public Service Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

There has been accusations after the Constitution of 2007 that allegedly some persons have been interfering with the work of the Public Service Commission, giving directives in writing through the Human Resources Department and even have summoned the Commission to meetings. It is unclear who the alleged persons are or, if this alleged practice is still continuing. The source refused to call names to our news site.

However, the constitutional expert told this news site, if this has happened or is happening, it will be unconstitutional and could be cause for “legal challenge to decisions of the body”.

Fairness and justice in the civil service seems a thing of the past!

Very recently, many in the civil service have lashed out against both the UK appointed governor and the PSC for what some perceived as unfair treatment in the service, victimization, double standards, lack of transparency and favouritism.

Within the last two years, there seems to have been a new era of double standards in the service where they go after some public officers to victimise them and others who have done wrong, it’s placed under the rug, according to a senior civil servant who wished to remain anonymous.

She pointed out that after the 2011 general elections, “civil servants where pushed around like dogs, humiliated, send on extensive leave…where were the Governor, DG and PSC to stand up for us”, and in fact “they allegedly aided in this treatment".

"I cannot wait to retire next year," the officer with 24 years in the service told this news site with sadness.

“I remember the days when the Governor, Deputy Governor or PSC were the places we went to for justice and help when you were victimised by Heads of Departments, supervisors and Permanent Secretaries but, regrettably this appears to be out the door in my opinion, as many public servants now often complain that allegedly those areas seem to be the source of that behaviour," according to the same civil servant. However, she did not give this news site specific examples to back up her claims.

Over the last two years, there have been some five to six cases filed in the courts against the Governor, Human Resources Director and PSC for unfair dismissal, faults accusations, and officers sent on leave based on fraudulent claims. Thus far, the civil servants have won four out of five cases called already.

In 2010, a Permanent Secretary was sent on leave after a news paper article, and although the officer won in the court and through the PSC, the officer remains on leave. Another civil servant was forced to retire after her head of department accused her of allegedly stealing a water tank. She was interviewed by the PSC but never given an opportunity to bring her witnesses to defend herself. The court ruled in favour of the officer for unfair dismissal. Another officer was sent home without due process, natural justice and pay for a civil accusation but the court found him not guilty and he had to be reinstated with back pay.

There are many other public officers on leave, on half salaries and suspended for being accused of civil and other matters in the courts or in their jobs as public officers with no end in sight.

Most of the victimisation appears to be against indigenous Virgin Islanders, however, the source did not provide names and birth certificates to verify this information. Currently, about three Heads of Departments are on extensive leave. Two have been called back to work but reassigned to cubical offices with allegedly no windows away from their departments.

The PSC members are now retired civil servant Keturah Crabbe, businesswoman Patsy Lake, retired Director of Human Resources Magdaline Rymer (Chair), Attorney Dawn J. Smith, and Reverend Julian M. Clarke.

38 Responses to “PSC shocker! - Ishmael Scatliffe out! Keturah Crabbe in!”

  • faith of our fathers (25/06/2012, 09:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Me tell ayo to keep your eyes on that governor!!!
    • Civil servant (25/06/2012, 14:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I vote for this 64 years governor to go. What are we doing with a retiree as governor. I have watched governors over the years like Governors Savage, Macan and Peary. This one is the worse. Time to pack up and go Governor. You have made us lose confidence in you. I thought that you would have done well. You screwed up the police force now you are playing around with us.
      • open wide (25/06/2012, 15:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Well the governor agenda is clear...but I would never call him a racist for he is not!!! But his credibility is on the line and the CSA should write to the FCO as he is getting out of hand
  • god help we (25/06/2012, 09:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The deck is cast… it’s stack with NDPs..god send help to you VIP public officers
  • Joc (25/06/2012, 09:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I dont understand what the issue is about. The news site said the governor is in his rights to make the decision so what is the fuss all about.
  • civil servant (25/06/2012, 10:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let’s hope Ms. Crabbe is fair and she fights for us
  • Facts (25/06/2012, 11:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The BVI seems to have a problem with always bringing back retired persons to hold a post. This is the raeson why there are so many unemployed university graduates. Those that are retired won't stay retired so thhat others can advance and get their chance to shine and make a difference in the country.
    • watching (26/06/2012, 11:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      All BVIslanders have the same rights to have the privilege of serving in the Public Service if they are qualified and desire to do so. Capable and willing Civil Servants should not be forced to retire, especially before they reach retirement age, but insult is added to injury, because they are treated unfairly for many years and then are forced to retire. To what end, to give others a chance to make a dollar? So is it that only some people are to make a dollar? Two wrongs do not make a right.
  • facts (25/06/2012, 11:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As long as we remain a colony the governor will do as he please
    • insider (26/06/2012, 02:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      to facts: Oh no!!! I never knew this..this must be breaking news..ha ha
  • SKA (25/06/2012, 12:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    God Choice, Mrs. Crabbe is fair.
    • egg face (25/06/2012, 15:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Have you ever work with her??? So hush your backside and wheel and come again..everything gone back to the east now
  • Hmmmmm (25/06/2012, 12:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A whole lot about absolutely nothing. The Governor acted within his rights and the Constitution.
  • Off the Bat (25/06/2012, 13:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Scatliffe needs to go, after being on the Public Service Commission for over 20 years, and there bullying people when he does not get his way. The Governor is not obliged to accept the CSA's nomination, but I am sure he or the previous governor would have suggested to the CSA's executive, that a replacement be found before it came to this. Maybe they were also fed up with his stone age tatics too!!!
    • black boy (25/06/2012, 13:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      back the hell off Ishmael for he was fighting for justice and what was right and that is why the governor use heavy handed methods and got rid of him...now debate that
      • in the news (25/06/2012, 15:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        We all agree as he kept their feet to the fire and knew the rules!!
  • Crank Shaft (25/06/2012, 13:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is just to stir up confusion because of who the woman is, that's all. If it was anybody else it wouldn't be an issue, thank god not all of us are so petty and stupid.
  • Ami dat (25/06/2012, 13:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    People, CONSULTATION is just that........It does not necessarily imply AGREEMENT . Always look out for words that convey a different meaning, often differing from conventional practice.
  • Not2Sure (25/06/2012, 14:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A long, long article, but nothing in it says *why* the Governor chose not to accept the nomination. I doubt he did it simply because he woke up in a bad mood one morning. Can anyone shed any light on this?
    • selfish (26/06/2012, 17:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      because a former member meant if she had to go Ishmael had to go too
  • no nonsense (25/06/2012, 15:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    people who don't like changes will always have some negative comment to make and why do they always have to bring party involvement in decisions made by the governor its his right to choose who he wants to sit on the PSC who vex buss good choice Govenor
  • ratbat (25/06/2012, 15:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dem rob the ppl dem land ?
  • If truth be known (25/06/2012, 15:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Willock my boy, your goose cook! The court could say what it want! PSC stacked now!
  • under the bus (25/06/2012, 15:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    While I agree the governor has the power and did nothing wrong "he should listen to the voice of public officers" who I agree are "the only group affected by PSC decisions"...well said!!! BAM hit the right spot
  • stating truth (25/06/2012, 16:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Home grown you all say aryo take that both of them is aryo own LOL haaaaaaaaaaa
  • taxpayer (25/06/2012, 17:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Have you people given any thought to the decision to re instate Willock? Guess who promoted that bright idea. He is only the first casualty. Watch and you will see.
    • wings (26/06/2012, 01:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You all just like Mr. Willock's name my people always trying to put his name in some …keep off the man he is just chllin
  • Hmm (25/06/2012, 19:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who did the CSA consult with in re-nominating this man? Certainly not the rest of the Civil Service. He had a strangle hold on the festival committee for twenty something years and they had to kick him out of there too. Good riddance. Thank you Governor .
    • HELP HELP HELP (26/06/2012, 09:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      you all so hateful and silly has anyone kick he out of anything??? the man is a good man and the governor is wrong..he could not have done this in the UK
  • grace (26/06/2012, 10:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ishmael SCATLIFFE, When it is not his way, it is the highway.. Somebody said with KETURAH everything going to the East. Not so fast my dear. Favours will still be given to the chosen few. So don't worry Central might stand a better chance than especially Long Look. We will wait and see how the East make out.
  • Carlos Otero (26/06/2012, 14:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The "modernised" colonial status rears its ugly head. The governor can do this because he has the power to do so in this "modernised" constitution that we herald all around the region as somehow democratic. Please. Why do we think that FCO and the governor operate separately? They are one in the same.
  • run for your life (26/06/2012, 17:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this governor is a bully but he better read the history of governors and how there were two that we ran out of the bvi


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