Watch Post by Eusi Kwayana.

His Excellency
The President of Guyana
Office of the President
March 9, 2000

Your Excellency,

Like others, WATCHPOST has observed as best it can the changeover from Department of Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue to the new Revenue Authority. I write on behalf of what is as yet a small, token Organisation and in the capacity of Convenor.

In our opinion it would be justifiable to retire persons prematurely, or dismiss them in the interests of the service only on the ground of misconduct, or some equivalent cause, and in keeping with law. I have obtained and studied documents of the allegations against Mr Clarence Chue and have found accusations, but with no rational replies after his responses to them. Regarding Mr Bancroft, I have found no charges whatever and learnt that he was not at all involved in Customs since 1992. It is my information that Mr Bahadur's inclusion in the list of those terminated equally does not result from any valid investigation. In case it is argued that the staff terminations and changes were indeed made under the law, that is the Revenue Authority Act, it can be shown that the Constitution does not in spirit allow persons to be punished with a penalty which was not available at the time when the offence was committed.

About two years ago I had interviewed two of the workers formerly interdicted and later reinstated, who are now transferred with all their skills and experience, and until it is proved other-wise their integrity, out of Customs and Excise. They are Mr Patrick Hyman and Ms Iyola Isaacs. They had both been sent home on full pay without any accusation laid against them and without a trial. They had been reinstated during 1998, but the sanction against them remained unofficially. Despite the Customs-readiness they were both transferred to new areas of work. Mr Gajadhar had in 1992 been included, purely for political correctness, among those marked for removal. His seniors have testified that there was nothing known against him . He too has not been retained in the Revenue Authority.

In GUYOIL, during your term of office, and the Chairmanship of the highly rated Mr Edgar Heyligar two managers were secretly dismissed. That publicly owned agency seems to think it has a prerogative of silence on such a very public matter and has not satisfied the public of the reason for their punishment. It made a public statement, however, against a security worker who was dismissed on an allegation of assisting in sales.

You surely did not invent the style of government complained of. This style is also not in keeping with the needs of developments, as we understand it. It is moreover not in keeping with your government's professions of transparency. No responsible citizen can feel a sense of satisfaction or progress while the government considers it necessary to terminate the employment of targeted persons, to transfer others from their areas expertise and fail to disclose any valid or clear reasons for doing so. It may not be possible to please the Public, but the public is entitled to the information for its consideration and experience. WATCHPOST can see no reason for the withholding of information about irregularities unless those withholding it wish to disempower the people. Although some individuals and groups will have a moderate response, please do not fail to be advised that this attitude not only "plants the seeds of anger" but can be fuel for explosions which seem to have no connection with it. How fair will it then be to blame the uncontrolled rebels Only, when they are responding to lack of proper controls on the actions of the Executive?

Please be good enough to instruct that precise information on the reasons for the compulsory retirements and staff changes in the transition from Customs and Revenue to Revenue Authority be sent to WATCHPOST at your government's earliest convenience.

Thank you for your courtesy.
Yours respectfully,
Eusi Kwayana

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