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Antigua PM Reads Riot Act To Government Legislators

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.

Antigua PM Reads Riot Act To Government Legislators

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, August 16, 2016 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, has warned government legislators in the Senate to either get on board with the Statutory Corporation General Provisions bill or be axed.

The Senators have expressed reservations about some aspects of the legislation and Prime Minister Brown said he would have to be convinced on the need for changes or else the government legislators would have to support the measure.

“We will give them a hearing and, if there are any concerns that are raised, we will make the adjustments. If they are just speculating like others are, then clearly it will go back unchanged and they will have to pass it or resign,” he said.

The legislators say they are not comfortable with Clause 7 of the bill that reads “The Cabinet may, if it considers in the best interest of public administration, transfer an employee on secondment from one statutory corporation to another…or to the public service”.

It adds that an employee may be seconded to a post of equivalent or similar rank in another statutory corporation or to a non-established post in the public service.

Prime Minister Browne, who defended the inclusion of this clause, disagreed with those legislators who termed the bill as a “dictatorship bill”, saying the intention is to improve corporate governance.

“Is that a matter of power because, at the end of the day, we can move them, no matter what they say we can,” he said, adding “they still have jobs, their perks remain unchanged, their salaries remain unchanged…

“So they are looking at this issue from a myopic position, not looking at the whole issue of the governance of the country,” he said, noting if the arguments are accepted “then we can’t move our ambassadors either, we can’t rotate them”.

“We are saying that senior public servants, those who fall under the Integrity in Public Life Act, must be subject to some form of rotation as a form of good corporate governance,” he added.

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