Astaphan says PM ‘entitled’ to meet with public officers

Astaphan (left), Letang

Senior Counsel, Tony Astaphan has responded to statements made by General Secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), Thomas Letang in which he criticized Prime Minister Skerrit for holding meetings with public officers.

Letang said at a press conference recently, that meetings held with public officers to discuss working conditions is the responsibility of the Establishment, Personnel and Training Department, not the prime minister.

Astaphan who is a legal adviser to the government, has countered, saying the government has an obligation to negotiate with public officers of the country.

“The Prime Minister is entitled as the Prime Minister and the Minister of finance to meet with public servants and to explain to public servants directly if he wishes, what are the plans of the government…and to explain to them the conditions of work…the financial condition of the country, the ability of the government to pay,” he said.

“The only obligation the government has is to negotiate with the public service union for salaries and other benefits but there’s is nothing in…the law or in the constitution…that prevents the Prime Minister from informing directly, the public servants, about the state of the economy, the country and what is that we plan do for them and for the country.”

Astaphan said he believes that General Secretary of the Union has not been acting honestly on behalf of the public servants and if he was the prime minister, he would “take it upon myself to inform them directly with facts which will disabuse the minds of any parties and politics.”

Letang explained that the Prime Minister has held two separate meetings with public officers.

“On Thursday march 23rd, the day that we held our widely publish rally with public officers the Prime Minister ordered all Junior clerks to a meeting with him to discuss all working conditions. Working conditions are discussed with public officers by the establishment personnel and training department not the Prime minister not any other minster of the government,” he said.

“On Tuesday the 23rd of April, he again called another meeting – this time, for senior clerks and executive officers – where he presented himself in our opinion, as both the employer and the union, discussing matters related to the appointment and other terms and conditions of work of public officers,“ the union official added.

He said no prime minister in our democracy has ever been the employer of public officers and has called for that action to be discontinued.

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  1. May 15, 2019

    Hello!!!!! if the Servant want’s to meet with his Masters then I don’t have a problem with that; except knowing the Double (Dr) PhD, his motives must be questioned and his track record of Deception Lies and Propaganda are not one we should dismiss lightly. The Servant wants his Masters to renew his contract for the next five (5) years it’s plain and simple.

  2. Slim Daddy
    May 14, 2019

    Blame the PM as much as you like for Dominica’s poor state but the root of Dominica’s problem is it’s people, the population is unproductive people just don’t want to work anymore even if it’s available , it’s a culture change happening that’s why we have more drugs , guns on the streets working is not priority anymore , why is the Haitian’s running our market ? our people don’t work so whoever you elect , he must be a better begger than Skerrit.

    • Ibo France
      May 14, 2019

      @Slim Daddy
      There will be always some among us who will be wayward but the vast majority of Dominicans want to earn for themselves. The Red Clinic encourages laziness. That said, the economy has been the biggest headache and greatest failure in Dominica. Jobs are in hibernation Pre and Post Maria. Let’s be brutally honest. This government has been unable to attract new investments or incentivize the economy. I will like DNO to try to procure the unemployment figures and the percentage of citizens and legal residents living south of the poverty line. To get a new, good paying job in Dominica today is pretty close to impossible.

  3. Shaka zulu
    May 14, 2019

    Anytime Tony Astaphans comes out and speak on behalf of some action of skerrit it is because skerrit has broken the law or violated the constitution. Its a pattern that has been going on for years. Tony Astaphans has allowed skerrit to violate Dominica and dominicans for years. Don’t worry it will catch up with yall some day. I have seen former leaders around the world face charges.

  4. Birdie
    May 14, 2019

    It’s ok for marking-tyre to meet Tony’s bird. So Tony checking it’s ok for pm to meet public servant. Oh Gad. Dah man noh ha shame

  5. Ibo France
    May 14, 2019

    Skerrit’s meeting with the civil servants was an act of desperation, obviously, an election stunt to win the hearts and souls of these long suffering people. For multiple years, these beleaguered people have been disrespected, denied their appointments and an increase in salary. The PM’s action clearly shows what he thinks of these civil servants and Dominicans in general. He thinks of them as fools who can be easily deceived every election cycle. If Dominicans allow themselves to be conned this time around, shame on you, you deserve Skerrit, Tony Astaphan and the rest of this dangerous ‘experiment’.

  6. Braindamage
    May 13, 2019

    Change is coming Tony. Your mouth will remain close for another 18 years.

  7. May 13, 2019

    Mr. Letang is been dishonest. Civil servants are not sheep, they have respected Mr. Letang for the past several years by allowing him to hold the position of general Secretary. He now insults their intelligence by giving them guidelines as to how they should vote. He then takes offence because the Prime Minister is having meetings with the civil servants. Mr. Letang is a UWP political operative (that is his democratic right) but the members whom he represents have a right to listen or not to listen to who ever they want to. Freedom of association and expression is not one-sided.

  8. Man bites dogs
    May 13, 2019

    Could someone please help me how is it
    Isaac Baptiste
    Thomas Letang
    Lennox Linton all look alike are they all brothers? Just asking OK!!

    • Forest Girl
      May 14, 2019

      I wonder if you look like a snake. Without doubt you speak like one!

    • Ibo France
      May 14, 2019

      This is one of the most vacuous and moronic comments on DNO. This is a nothing burger. Has no relevance to common sense. What this comment certainly proves, is that, common sense is not so common.

  9. weh
    May 13, 2019

    I guess the PM is looking to bribe the public officers with $$$ for votes

  10. TeteCalbass
    May 13, 2019

    Kertish Augustus is the most knowledgeable and experienced Trade Unionist in Dominica. It is hurtful, that this man could seat in his WAWU office and refuses to voice an opinion concerning Skeritt’s decision, in terms of meeting the PSU workers. Who knows, maybe he is afraid of Tony Astaphan. They all do, with the exception of Blessings.

  11. carlty
    May 13, 2019

    No, there is nothing wrong with the Prime Minister meeting with the public servants. It is not a necessity that the “employer” meets with the union in order to discuss anything with. It is the employee’s choice to decide whether on not they would like the union to intervene in any situation that they deemed necessary: that is any situation in which they feel that their rights are being violated. Other than that there are no laws stating that the government cannot meet with public officers or that they must meet with the union and not the employees.

  12. Neville
    May 13, 2019

    Why don’t you shut your front door, Astaphan. Nobody asked for your opinion. Never mind, the wind of change is blowing and it will be blowing right in your face with gale force.

  13. Ibo France
    May 13, 2019

    SC Astaphan’s advice to the PM has the country teetering on the brink of economic disaster, the society severely fractured and the great majority of the people desperately impoverished. This man is one of Dominica’s most infamous ‘deplorables’. This man has done very very well for himself from the meagre resources of the country. While many catching hell, he doing well.

  14. enough is enough
    May 13, 2019

    Tony, My dear Tony,
    come on my brother your carriere is done. you are a prestigious and successful lawyer. and i know you love your country. so…..why you are still supporting the man???

  15. Jirun
    May 13, 2019

    Yep he has a point.Why is now he wasn’t do it have ppl in gov so long getting 1600 a month now u see the importance of holding meeting u didn’t see that for 19 years ..Garcon move there eh and let Clement run Things..Clement is all about young ppl

  16. Pipo
    May 13, 2019

    These are divisionary tactics and turn the the govt. dept. that is supposed to deal with labour issues (… labour as in work!) in eunuchs. Of course, the Prime Minister can talk to anyone he wants but like all of us must accept the consequence of his actions. Equally, public servants can refuse to meet with him and that takes more balls than the P.M. summon the public servants.

    May 13, 2019

    why is now skerrit want to speak to us after he commanded his goons at ESTABLISHMENT to victimize people that is perceived as non supporters of SKERRIT PERSONAL PARTY….
    skerrit is a fraud and seem to believe all dominicans are jackasses

  18. %
    May 13, 2019

    Unadulterated hogwash by Tony, to say that Mr Thomas Letang has not been acting honestly re public servants. Letang loves the public officers, Skerrit only loves Skerrit
    Lazy Skerrit is the one not acting honestly toward the citizens of the country .
    Skerrit meeting with public officers is an exercise in futility..The public servants are well prepared to vote him out, and that will not change.
    But why on matters like that Skerrit is moo moo? Is this what passes for Prime Minister in Dominica? Skerrit makes such a mockery of leadership..OMG look incompetence.
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    LAZY Skerrit Must Go Now

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