Agriculture staff requests PM’s help to block extension to PS’ contract

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Senior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture have written to Prime Minister Gaston Browne asking him to intervene and stop the extension of the permanent secretary’s contract.
The PS is set to demit the public service this month, but a well-placed source told OBSERVER media that after getting wind of Permanent Secretary Sharon Peters’ wish to extend her service, the officials sought the prime minister’s intervention.
According to the nine high-ranking officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs (MALFBA), who penned the letter, the style of Peters’ one-year term in the ministry has been one of dictatorship and disrespect.
In the May 12, 2017 letter, the technical staff said that any amendment and subsequent continuation of interference by Peters will not be “palatable or tolerated” and they are therefore requesting effective mediation to return the affairs at the ministry to normalcy.
The letter stated, among other things, that the PS refused “to permit relevant officers to attend regional and international conferences with significant benefits to Antigua and Barbuda”.
The letter also accuses the PS of refusing “to process invoices submitted in a timely manner for the purchase of goods and services”. In this regard, the letter cited as an example: “procurement of weather equipment for use in the management of the Giant African Snail”.
Another example of Peters’ alleged “autocratic and overbearing behaviour” was a visit she allegedly made to Suriname after the Chief Technical Officer recommended the trip to procure coconut planting material was “unnecessary and a drain on government resources”.
The designations of the nine senior officers, who signed the letter, are: Director of Agriculture; Senior Research Officer; Technical Consultant; Abattoir and Meat Market Manager (ag); Plant Protection Officer; Senior Forestry Officer; Chief Veterinary Officer; Project Coordinator and the CaFAN Agricultural Coordinator.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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