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Government hiring process is ‘a mess’, says public works minister

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Hiring in Government is “a mess and requires a real intervention to try and sort out the challenges”, according to the minister of public works.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch was responding to a question in the House of Assembly on Friday by Jarion Richardson, the Opposition Whip, about the cost of a consultant at the Government Quarry Depot in Hamilton Parish who was hired after the departure of the principal mechanical engineer.

Mr Richardson asked about the status of replacing the mechanical engineer, to which Colonel Burch responded: “The status is that it is caught up in the bureaucracy of government.

“It is a source of significant frustration to me as the minister that a number of posts in this ministry cannot be substantively filled until there is a review of the job descriptions.

“In this particular case we are looking to try and get permission to advertise as soon as possible. The consultant is on a six-month contract with the option to extend it. Hiring in government these days is, in a word, a mess and requires a real intervention to try and sort out the challenges.”

As an example, Colonel Burch said, the Department of Public Lands and Buildings had had an acting buildings manager in place for three years.

“He is more than competent to do the job. He cannot be assigned to the post substantially until the job description for that post is reviewed and renewed.

“It is a little unusual that it takes more than three years to do that.”

Colonel Burch said he would update the House on the position.

He gave a ministerial statement earlier in the session about a financial feasibility study which is expected to provide recommendations for the Government’s consideration.

His comments to the House of Assembly came after a request for proposals was issued for an organisation to look at options for the facility.