Chief Sec: Recommendation for chief administrator sent to commission

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine File photo -
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine File photo -

CHIEF Secretary Farley Augustine says the Public Service Commission has received a recommendation for the position of chief administrator in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

He is hoping the issue will be resolved by the end of the week.

On the Tobago Updates morning show on Tuesday, Augustine said, “The latest information I have is that a recommendation was received by the Public Service Commission sometime last week Tuesday.

“But they had their meeting already before the recommendation was we are just waiting on the Public Service Commission to complete their work in that regard.”

The THA has been without a chief administrator since Ethlyn John’s retirement on May 17.

Augustine and the Prime Minister and have been at loggerheads over the issue, accusing each other of telling untruths.

Augustine claimed his version of events was correct.

“I went to the House (Assembly Legislature) last week Thursday and shared the timelines by reading onto the records and the communications between the Prime Minister and myself, which showed that the Prime Minister was less than truthful about how this matter panned out.”

He claimed he only learnt on May 17 that an appointment for chief administrator was due to be made.

“But the Prime Minister and I only met on May 22.”

Augustine said there is no way the commission could have been preparing to make an appointment when the law is clear about the process.

He said the Prime Minister must consult with the Chief Secretary before sending a recommendation to the commission and an appointment is made.

“That’s the order in which it ought to happen.”

Augustine claimed nobody consulted him.

“I shared in the House last week Thursday as well that last year when Ms John came, nobody consulted with me, completely disrespected and I did not come to the media. I did not come to the public. I didn’t cuss anybody. I did not get on bad despite having a right to do so.

“In fact, at the time, I felt that I should go to court and have the court reject the appointment and send Ms John packing.”

He claimed if this issue had arisen during the tenure of former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and former chief secretary Orville London, “Tobago would have been on fire. Ms John would have never been accepted. There would have been bacchanal, talk of disrespect. They would have blocked roads, they would have protested, they woulda go to court.

"But I was kind enough to accept the disrespect last year.”

Augustine said the appointment of a chief administrator should not even result in “a large public discussion.

“It cheapens the position. It creates PR challenges for a public servant that will now fill the position.”

He said he had blamed the commission for the issue when the issue first arose.

“Because I was under the impression that the Prime Minister had already made the recommendation to the Public Service Commission pursuant to his consultation with me, and so they were the ones sticking, as the young people say – only to discover that he was the one sticking on the matter.”

In his budget presentation on Monday, Augustine said the Prime Minister should be removed from the process to appoint a chief administrator.

“Madam Presiding Officer, if nothing else, the delays in the appointment of a chief administrator to the assembly have made pellucid the urgent need to change the process by eliminating the direct involvement of the Prime Minister as proposed in the bill (Tobago autonomy) currently before the Parliament.”

He believes the time has also come to seriously consider the establishment of the position of deputy chief administrator.

Augustine said modern, inclusive governance demands that the ideas and ideals of the people are embodied in the solutions to public problems.

“This is why we continue to engage Tobagonians in our executive council town meetings, from Charlotteville to Crown Point.”


"Chief Sec: Recommendation for chief administrator sent to commission"

More in this section