Govt warns public servants not to stay away

A story from Today’s Stabroek News, one of Guyana’s largest newspapers:

Wednesday October 9, 2002 (full story here)

Crime shutdown set for today
Govt warns public servants not to stay away
By Miranda La Rose

Fed up with the approach of the government and the opposition to the tide of violent crime that has swept the country, a group of citizens is today set to embark on a shutdown of Guyana to send a strong appeal for urgent action.

Opposed to the planned action, the government yesterday issued a stern warning to public servants to turn up for work or face disciplinary action.

The shutdown call has been issued by a group of businessmen and a group called Unite Guyana. No-one in either group has acquiesced to being publicly identified with the campaign.

At a press briefing yesterday afternoon, Public Service Minister Dr Jennifer Westford advised public servants that her ministry has not given them any permission to stay away from work today. All public servants will be required to be on duty from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Failure to do so, she said will result in disciplinary action.

Asked how she will deal with those public servants who may be affected due to the unavailability of public transportation, she said unfortunately, she did not call the briefing “to debate or for questions to be asked” adding that when those issues arise they will be solved. There were provisions within the public service for dealing with those “if and when they should arise”, she said.

Dr Westford also pleaded with the politicians, especially those who were elected to parliament to come together to ensure that the crime problem was solved.

She urged those committing the rash of crimes to allow citizens to live in peace.

To the business community she said “you need to come up with a concise and comprehensive plan in trying to assist with this problem that you are having. I don’t know if you feel that shutting down for one day or two days will solve this problem. I don’t think so.”

Permanent Secretary in the Public Service Ministry Dr NK Gopaul said in a circular that any person who failed to report for duty today will have their salary deducted accordingly.