Wattley slams PM Harris over treatment of public servants

Mr. Douglas Wattley


Basseterre, St. Kitts – Two years and two months after the demise of Mr. Elvis Newton, Head of the Civil Service, the position remains vacant.

Douglas Wattley, former chairman of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris’ co-ruling People’s Labour Party (PLP) has accused Dr. Harris of not doing anything to advance the public service for the nearly three years he has been in office.

“Who is the Head of Service? In other words, who is in charge of the Civil Service? The late Elvis Newton was the first Head of Service after the passage of the Public Service Act (2011) which created the post. Since his death in August of 2015, no one has replaced him – at least, so it appears,” said Wattley in a FaceBook posting.

“It’s either that the civil service has wandered along without a head or it has wandered under a head that is also in a full-time job – perhaps the Cabinet Secretary,” said Wattley, who is of the view that “either scenario is highly unacceptable.”

Wattley said the civil service is a big deal, but is complex and dynamic.

“Its employees are big deals and they deserve better,” said Wattley, a former permanent secretary and health planner.

Wattley said that the civil service requires “full-time, focused attention by a committed leader and manager. This assignment is a handful for a young person doing only this one job.”

“It is not acceptable that the Prime Minister appears hell-bent on killing morale in the civil service. Not one thing of note has been done to advance the service during his tenure. In almost three years in office, you cannot point to any innovation or improvement benefiting the civil service,” said Wattley, adding: “I can promise you that for the upcoming two years leading up to the next General Elections, we are going to see a flurry of activities, only by then, it will be too late.”