PS Public Administration.
Everyone reading these posts probably knows that I am the Chairman of the Public Service Integrity Board. As such, I work closely with several of the persons whose positions will be subject to remarks. Let me say that I have worried whether I should be the one to take up the leading of this discussion. It might be that it will be considered by some to be unseemly for the Chairman of a Public Service Board to deal with allegations of misconduct in the highest levels of the public service. I hope that I will not be perceived as letting down the side! I especially hope that readers will accept that I have no interest other than the wellbeing of the public service. What is written here is a description of concerns that members of the public and of the public service have related to me. It is nothing personal.
We are looking at a perception that there is a rising tide of discontent in the Anguilla Public Service. This tide is said to be forming around a number of recent appointments to senior positions. The earliest is that of Permanent Secretary in the Department of Public Administration. When Stanley Reid was appointed Deputy Governor in May 2006, his previous post of PS in the Department of Public Administration fell vacant. Much speculation began about whom the Governor would appoint in his place. The appointment of a Permanent Secretary in Anguilla is in the hands of the Governor. The Governor is not required to consult with the Public Service Commission for such an appointment. He is required to consult with the Chief Minister. He does not have to take the advice of the Chief Minister or any other Minister when appointing a Permanent Secretary. But, he does have to consult. If he is wise, and if he wants to ensure good working relations between the Minister and his Permanent Secretary, he will pay serious attention to the advice and counsel of the Minister before making the appointment.
The post of PS Public Administration is a prestigious position. It is a powerful position. It is the office that under the Governor's Office runs the entire
The vacancy was duly advertised. There were several applicants. One of the applicants was a bright young attorney in the Attorney General's office. Her name is Ms Arjul Wilson. Ms Wilson had been in the public service for several years. She had served as Crown Counsel. Several of the other applicants were more senior in the number of years they had been in the service. They had their own qualifications. The Governor in due course appointed Ms Wilson to the vacant post of PS Public Administration. You can read the story here in The Anguillian Newspaper. The older applicants are not sure they understand why Ms Wilson was selected ahead of them. There has been no explanation for the appointment of such a young person to be Permanent Secretary.
Nothing that is written here is meant to suggest that Ms Wilson did anything wrong, or that she is not capable of doing the job.
The more senior applicants are left wondering whether they should consider that they have come to the end of the line so far as their hopes for further promotion are concerned. Was there some way in which their performance has not been up to the expected standard? They will never know, as such appointments are not made as a result of any recommendation by an independent body. The least that can be said is that this is no way to run a public service. Unfettered discretion will only be accepted if it is seen by those affected to be handled in the most transparent and objective manner. Is it not time for the Governor to be made to act on the basis of the advice of an independent Public Service Commission, protected by the most modern