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PSU President Says No Minister has the Power to Instruct Any Public Officer

Following the incident and comments made by Prime Minister John Briceno and Agriculture Minister, Jose Mai, our understanding is that public officers in the Forest Department are demoralized. PSU President Dean Flowers is hoping that this is not the case. In fact, he hopes that public officers feel empowered to say ‘no’ to political instructions because they have the right to do so.
Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union (P.S.U): As it relates to the demoralisation that this may be causing within the department, and BAHA by extension, on the contrary, I would hope that public officers are not demoralised but are in fact motivated and empowered to know that you can say no to political directives, or political instructions, or political favours. You can say no. If any instructions, favours, or request is being made to you which is in contravention to any law or convention, you can say no. You are protected by the regulations and you are protected by law. The PM alluded to saying that well “I don’t know the young lady” but he turned around in the following sentence and said that he knows the mother-in-law and that the young lady is investing her whole life savings so he also needs to choose his words wisely while giving these emotional interviews in an attempt to justify his actions which in my humble view was out of line. I think he owes that officer an apology and not only that officer owes him an apology if it is that officer might have used tone that is unbecoming of public officers. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I don’t have a recording of the conversation but my account of the conversation is that the Prime Minister also intended to impose himself by using certain words to the officer.”