It was late one night in the 1990s. I was sitting in the back seat of a car.
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House committee hears of filling jobs in public service
Filling vacancies in the public service and public enterprises, applying human-resources best practices across the public sector and professional development programmes of the Government Human Resources Services Company Ltd (GHRS) were the main issue at a joint-select committee meeting in Parliament yesterday. Chairing the committee was Independent Senator Dr Victor Wheeler.
Representing GHRS were its CEO Franklin Ali; chairman Wayne Munro; vice president of corporate planning Geoffrey Lewis; vice-president of human capital management Khair Murray and internal auditor Allyson Alexander. The GHRS is a unit of the Public Administration Ministry, which was represented by its permanent secretary Gillian Macintyre and deputy permanent secretary Richard Madray.
The objectives of the GHRS include providing services to recruit nationals and non-nationals at home and abroad to fill the critical skills gap that exists and providing technical assistance and support services to the personnel department of the service commissions. The committee’s vice-chairman, Independent Senator David Small, said while GHRS was striving to improve its systems in terms of procurement and management, there must be the proper environment which would allow people to perform to their optimum.
“It is a fundamental failing of the system that people are thrust into management positions but have no management skills. They don’t know how to manage people and understanding how to get the best out of the people they have.” On filling vacancies, Small said reports showed over the last three years some 1,381 interviews had been done. That, he said, may not be a measure of an organisation which was making a significant contribution to filling vacancies and improving the public service.
In response, Macintyre said GHRS was not responsible for filling all the vacancies in the public service. “A ministry had to request such services and they (GHRS) are only focusing on contract employment,” Macintyre said. Ali said GHRS started with a huge mandate but with “very humble infrastructure and staffing,” and between 2007 and 2012, the highest number of staff on the organisation was 18.
When the new executive was appointed in late 2013 the need to build capacity within the organisation was immediately realised. He said the GHRS’ base of operations, which he described as cramped, at Saddle Road, Maraval, was expected to move to Chaguanas.