February 27, 2023
Public Service Commission (PSC)
Dear Commissioners: We, the undersigned, write this open letter to express our concerns about the recent appointment to the vacant office of the “Acting Cabinet Secretary.”
We refer the Commission to Section 68(1) of the Constitution which states “There shall be a Secretary to the Cabinet whose office shall be a public office.”
The Constitution in Section 85(2) states that the power to appoint persons to hold or act in the office of Secretary to the Cabinet is subject to the provisions of section 91 [Appeals in discipline cases] of the Constitution.”
There is no evidence of a disciplinary case brought against a Cabinet Secretary. In making the selection to the office, made vacant by the recent retiring of Ms Ruth Rouse, the actions of the Commission are seemingly in violation to the principles outlined in the Public Service Rules and Regulations, Section 19. These principles direct that “In considering the eligibility of officers for promotion, the Commission SHALL take into account the seniority, experience, educational qualifications, merit and ability, together with the relative efficiency of such officers, and in the event of an equality of efficiency of two or more officers, the Commission shall give consideration to the relative seniority of the officers available for promotion to the vacancy.”
The rules further direct “the Commission, in considering the eligibility of officers under paragraph (1) for an appointment on promotion, shall attach greater weight to- (a) seniority, where promotion is to an office that involves work of a routine nature; (b) merit and ability where promotion is to an office that involves work of progressively greater and higher responsibility and initiative than is required for an office specified in subparagraph (a).”
We note too, that the Appointee, in 2021 offered herself to be elected to an executive position within a political organisation. This decision was a violation of the Public Service Rules and Regulations, Section 74. Was the Commission aware of this? Was this taken into consideration when making the selection to the office of the Cabinet Secretary?
We take this opportunity to highlight our concerns about a recent Memorandum dated January 26, 2022, requesting public officers to sign an ‘Oath of Affirmation.” Section 85 of the Constitution and Schedule 3 are prescriptive on the oaths to be taken by public officers. This is supported by the Oaths Act, Cap 217 and the Public Service Rules and Regulations.
We remind the Commission, that your role in protecting the integrity of the Public Service is critical and every decision made must be seen as unbiased, non-partisan and must respect the rule of law and the Constitution.
Joseph K. Roberts
Chairman of the Independent Caucus for Constitution Reform
NB: The Independent Caucus for Constitution Reform is a group of citizens who are concerned about the lack of education on the Constitution of Grenada, as it is the fundamental tool for proper governance of the society. The Caucus believes that aspects of the Constitution need to change to better reflect an evolving society, and that the only way to effect these changes is for the people to whom the document belongs, to understand what it says and why it needs to be changed. The group is a voluntary organisation and membership is open to anyone who shares the vision of learning the Constitution and advocating for necessary changes.