Friday, June 9, 2023
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DOZENS of financial and accounting officers gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office Friday in a show of frustration at the lack of promotions in the Finance Ministry.
Bahamas Public Services Union president Kimsley Ferguson, who represents the workers, said for far too long they have been overlooked.
“These are the people who ensure that vendors who have contract with the government are sorted, and these are the persons who have to process payment for promotions for other persons,” he said.
“And every day they do these things is a constant reminder that nothing is happening for them. They’re not begging for anything. They’re asking for what they rightfully deserve.”
He claimed that certain directives were given to the financial secretary from the prime minister but were never followed.
Mr Ferguson said as a result, the union’s patience was running out. He also called for Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis to meet with staff at his ministry so their concerns can be addressed.
“The instructions that were given in the meeting to the financial secretary by the prime minister was whatever was left as a recommendation by the previous administration to adjust the salary scales of the persons standing behind me in accordance with public service policy, that should have been carried out,” Mr Ferguson said.
“Instead of a scale upgrade, these persons were given a post upgrade which is totally different from a scale upgrade. A scale upgrade impacts the money. A post upgrade impacts the position.”
He continued: “So, we’re appealing to the prime minister again to hear the cry of these individuals who are so important. No budget can take place without these people. They can’t be executed.”
According to Mr Ferguson, more than 100 employees are waiting to advance in their careers after years of dedicated service.
Gail Charlow, a finance officer, is one of them.
She told reporters Friday the situation has lowered staff morale.
“I haven’t been promoted for 11 years,” said Ms Charlow. “I joined the service in 1998 and since then, there were persons who superseded me. I never received a supersession letter which is the right way to go, and I’m really discouraged.”
Mr Ferguson added: “We have been pursuing this particular concern, trying to exhaust every diplomatic avenue that we can to no avail so hence we’re here. We cannot say from this point what is going to happen but the squeaky wheel, I understand, gets the oil.”