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‘Plain talk bad manners’

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Part five of the Maha Sabha’s case for constitutional reform published on April 24, 2014, alluded to reforming the Public Service. At Indian Arrival Day 2014 celebrations, I spoke about some civil servants being PNM plants in the various Government Ministries and that they were effectively stultifying the PP Government’s policies and plans. This sparked a controversy in the PNM camp, much to the amazement of the rest of the country. Many matters of which I spoke on Indian Arrival Day were statements of fact. In common parlance, we would say “plain talk bad manners” or “frank-o-men”.

The role of a Permanent Secretary (PS) is to add a sense of continuity and harmonisation of policies in those times when a Minister changes—hence the concept of “permanent”. In Canada the equivalent post of PS is termed “Deputy Minister” and this tends to underscore the importance of the supporting role the office holder plays in relation to the Minister. Our Republican Constitution provides that a Minister shall have the general direction and control over his ministry and it shall be under the supervision of the PS. Whilst a minister may rely upon the PS for advice, he is not bound to accept it. The PS is therefore always subordinate to the minister.  


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