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“Of contracts, cronies, and public officers:” A John Saldivar political discourse

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john saldivar

Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2020. 5:01 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Former Minister of the Public Service (among others) and Belmopan area representative John Saldivar has penned a social media post about the issue of employment contracts within the Public Service.

First, Saldivar argues that those with employment contracts on a strictly political basis under the recent administration should be on their way out the door and that those contracts ought not to have been extended beyond the term of the government, which if necessary should be fixed in law.

But what a “crony”, as such people have been disparagingly called, depends, he continued. Is the new Government practicing blatant discrimination against certain public officers whom they suspect of supporting the now-Opposition United Democratic Party under the smokescreen of ridding themselves of supposed cronies?

The former Minister argues that the Government has consistently employed persons on contract in addition to established posts, citing a decision to place senior health managers on employment contracts “which means that currently there are hospital administrators, deputy regional managers, regional managers and others in the health system, including doctors and nurses on contracts.” Such persons are obviously not cronies, and simply because you were hired by a certain administration does not make you a crony of that administration.

Saldivar says that he equally condemns such cronies hanging on beyond their party’s administration and the mistreatment and “targeting” of public officers hired for traditional jobs under contract or as open vote workers.

But as for why such persons are even needed, Saldivar says in the comments accompanying the post that there are certain jobs public officers will not touch for which “politically appointed persons” are needed.

The ex-Minister calls on the new Government to be “reasonable and reasoned” in its approach and not draw up, as he alleges, lists of regular public officers for termination and/or transfer simply because they are seen as too close to the UDP. As he sees it, the new administration is already going too far and he calls on the Public Service Union (PSU) to pay attention.

In the comments, Saldivar says that while various reforms were carried out in his and others’ tenure in the Ministry of the Public Service, addressing this was unfortunately not one of them. To those who said he had 12 years to carry out reform, he insists that he will not be silenced and intends to speak up as necessary.

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