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Investigating the Public Service

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Sunday Guardian reported last week on the unauthorised absence from work of permanent secretaries Juliana Johan-Boodram and Ashwin Creed.. Normally the Public Service is not the subject of question marks about proper protocol in the handling of the nation’s affairs of State, but in recent times issues have begun to arise that indeed beg many questions.


In the case of Ms Johan-Boodram, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, no one knows who paid for her ticket to Argentina to attend a football match between this country and Argentina, let alone who authorised the release of a subsistence allowance for her to cover her hotel accommodation, ground transportation and meals. In her response last week, Ms Johan-Boodram said that the trip was not paid for by the Government or the Ministry of Tourism and she regarded it as not being “a big deal.”


 We beg to differ. It is a “big deal” if a permanent secretary takes off without official leave or any authorisation for their airfare and subsistence. Former permanent secretary Cheryl Blackman found herself in post-retirement difficulties having to answer questions after former Works and Transport minister Jack Warner publicly revealed that he paid out of his own pocket for his permanent secretary to accompany him to Jamaica on government business.