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The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) last Thursday fired four long-serving staff members who it claims failed to acknowledge the presence of a minister during a lunch-hour visit while they played a game of dominoes.
At the same time, the quartet believes that they were unfairly treated since they were unaware a minister was visiting the premises.
Reports are that the three mechanics and a radio operator , all of whom served the GFC for a number of years, were fired by the personnel department since the they were seen playing dominoes last Wednesday when Minister of Natural Resources , Vickram Bharrat visited the company’s offices at Water Street, Kingston.
A staff member told the Village Voice News that the four staff members received their termination letters the following day. He said that the incident was blown out of proportion by the GFC management since the minister indicated at the time that all was well when he walked pass the quartet. “I don’t see the big deal because the minister clearly said it was okay and since it was their lunch hour we ain’t see the big deal,” the staff member noted.
Another GFC staff told the Village Voice News that in the past, when Former Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman visited the GFC, there was a similar incident and the personnel division of the body merely warned staff members how to conduct themselves when a minister is on the GFC’s premises.
It was noted by the senior staff member that the GFC has been plagued by financial problems for several months, noting that some persons have not been paid for the month of June 2021. He said things were so bad at the GFC in recent months that some persons received their salaries late since the body was paying in an alphabetical order. It was noted too that field staff who received their salaries late suffered a double blow since monies which were not yet cleared for trips were deducted.
For those receiving bank payments, the smaller number of staff paid through particular banks were paid before the larger number of staff paid through other commercial banks.
The GFC has made attempts to remedy the situation but by the looks of things, the staff members believe that persons may be eventually laid off.
The GFC is responsible for advising the subject Minister on issues relating to forest policy, forestry laws and regulations. The Commission is also responsible for the administration and management of all State Forest land; the work of the Commission is guided by a National Forest Plan that has been developed to address the forest policy.