PSU Press release
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Public Service Union strongly condemns the recent actions of the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Tourism and the Hon Prime Minister for excoriating the workers of National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority (NPRBA) for political reasons; such action is tantamount to bullying and intimidation. It is unacceptable for any politician to use his or her power to intimidate and bully public servants who are doing their job.
The workers who were involved in removing structures at the Brighton Salt Pond were simply performing their duties. These workers have shown commitment and dedication to their work, hence they should be respected and appreciated. It is not appropriate for any politician to interfere with the work of public servants, for their own political gain.
The ministers – the Hon Camillo Gonsalves, the Hon Carlos James and the Hon Prime Minister – sought to inform the public that the workers were not authorized to act in the manner that they did. They further sought to establish that they were unaware of any decision to remove the structures. The Prime Minister further stated that “unauthorized behavior has consequences”. This, according to the Searchlight Newspaper dated 25th July 2023, hinted at action being taken against the person who gave the directive for the demolition.
According to an investigative report by Kenton Chance of IWitness News (IWN), dated 2nd August 2023, the government was aware of plans to remove items that Elroy ‘Huffle’ Arthur erected at the Brighton Salt Pond. The report also stated that the issue was raised at Cabinet since 2022 and was the subject of multiple National Parks board meetings. These findings are in clear contradiction to the Ministers’ statements that there was no prior knowledge of the decision to remove some of the structures from the recreation site at Brighton Beach.
We call on the named Ministers to desist from scapegoating and apologize to the workers at NPRBA for the unwarranted attack. We also urge all politicians to respect the work of public servants /workers and to refrain from using them as political pawns. We also wish to remind the Permanent Secretary that she is a public servant and as such should fiercely guard her integrity.
The Public Service Union stands with the acting director, the workers of the NPRBA and all public servants who work tirelessly to serve our country. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and take all necessary steps to ensure that public servants are able to do their jobs without fear of political interference.