Since the taking over of the new administration social media has been flooded with attacks against public officers. In one instance names of public officers were published with the salaries they were reportedly receiving. It was further alleged that these workers were not really working but rather receiving monies free from the government. In another instance for a public officer, things got physical and violent at the Lands Department where Legal Officer Llewellyn Usher was assaulted when attempting to report to work. The incident was partially caught on video which showed three officers tackle Usher. President of the Public Service Union has referred to this as bullying of the public workers and have found it unacceptable and unnecessary.
Also speaking out on the incident involving Usher was the former Minister of Natural Resources, Hugo Patt who told Love News that there has to be a clear line between politically appointed workers and public officers.
Hugo Patt, Corozal North Area Representative: “Those are public officers you know these are not politically elected people and so as far as I understand our legal advisor was just going back to work and he was just prevented from doing so. I don’t know that there is anything wrong with any public officer going back to his or her work. I think it was shocking for the staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources and certainly some calls were eventually made to ask the relevant authorities whether it is on any office of the Lands Department to go in and work because really they did not know whether to go back to work or not and so it was a very tense situation not only for our legal advisor but for the entire staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources and I think by extension the entire staff of the public service I think felt that sort of a very concerning series of events. “
Reporter: Have you made any checks on Mr.Usher since ?
Hugo Patt, Corozal North Area Representative: “No as far as I know he was taken for medical attention but I am certain that as soon as he is able to recuperate from his injuries it would be on him to decide what course of action he will take.”
PSU’s President Dean Flowers also spoke on the issue of open vote workers. He says it is the hope of the union that one day the government could do away with politically appointed workers.
Dean Flowers, First Vice President, Public Service Union: “The issue of open vote workers they will always be vulnerable and until we can put in place a system where we can close that door but we’ve heard previous elected officials say there will always be a place for open vote workers within the system and so we’re projects is concerned we can’t stop that and we’re hoping that the law will be followed if any open vote workers does have to be dismissed. But where our permanently established employees are concerned we expect that the Public Service regulations will be followed and that those individuals who are currently established that their tenure will be respected.”