Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said his government plans to put a system in place for public officers where they can express their concerns on matters affecting them.
He made that statement during his swearing-in ceremony held on the weekend.
Skerrit was re-elected as Dominica’s Prime Minister for the fourth consecutive term following the general elections held on Friday 6th December 2019.
“I believe that we need to put a system in place where people who were aggrieved by the actions [taken] by the administration of the public service, have an opportunity for their cases to be heard,” he said.
“I understand they can write to a public service commission,” he continued, “but the cabinet, I believe, needs to take a keener interest in the welfare of the public servants/officers and to provide them with an avenue where they can express their concerns and if they feel that they are being unfairly treated, they can be given an opportunity to be heard.”
The prime minister said there are too many of those complaints going around some of which are legitimate.
“I don’t think it is fair for us to pretend that it is not happening,” he stated.
Prime Minister Skerrit said he intends to deal with this frontally, “whether it is in the police force, nursing or teaching, or in the administration of the public service, we have to find a mechanism to address that.”
He expressed concern about people acting in a position for several years, “the idea of people not appointed for 15 years, they do not know whether they are coming or they are going; they cannot go to the bank and get any sizeable loan to build their homes; they are unable to assist their students studying because their tenure of work is uncertain.”
The Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) has been in a battle with the government of the day over salary increase and other benefits for public officers. The DPSU has indicated that the government’s offer for the triennium under negotiation is “zero, zero, and zero” which the union has flatly rejected.
In recent times, public officers including nurses, teachers, and police officers took to the streets in protest action in the hopes of having their voices heard.