September 30, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Immigration ‘a toxic workplace’ and verbal insults

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Colin Wilson2webIt seems having a top job in government leads to false allegations, back stabbing and verbal insults. Just listening and reading the current news bulletins involving government senior personnel it must seem like being on the front line in a war zone.

We even have charges brought against a member of the immigration staff of deliberately altering the immigration database to override decisions made by the Work Permit Board”.

At the case against Tichina Rickfield, who has been accused of making 15 unauthorised changes to the database over a twelve month period from January 2009 until January 2010 when she was acting as the board secretary, one of the witnesses against her is Linda Evans, Chief Immigration Officer, who is herself suspended because of allegations made about her!

I take back my reference to the war zone. The Immigration department is a minefield.

As this minefield was operating under Evans’ watch she should have done everything possible to sweep the place clean. That she didn’t does not reflect well on her leadership.

Former Work Permit Board head, Lemuel Hurlston described the situation at the Immigration Department as being overwhelming, overworked and ” extremely disorganized”. He said applications were one year in arrears. He also described the atmosphere as one of “distrust”.

Then we have a Chief Officer being verbally abused and insulted by a government minister and if that wasn’t enough we now hear about a Chief Officer doing exactly the same thing to one of his deputies.

Alan Jones, Chief Officer, Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing & Infrastructure, has confirmed he swore and made inappropriate comments to his deputy chief officer, Tristian Hydes.

The reason for his outburst was given as “a result of budget frustration and the pressures surrounding us to come in within a very constrained allocation.”

He has profusely apologized to Hydes and other members who were present at the time.

All this seems to dispel the myth that if you want an easy job – join government.

You couldn’t pay me to work in any toxic workplace so what is being done about the situation?

We also hear about police morale being down because of the workload and problems have come to light at the prison.

Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson, is the man at the very top of the chain and he has a very difficult job to do but he must do it.

With the budget restraints and an Auditor General looking at everything through his microscope it will not be unexpected if things continue to look like a war zone for some time to come.

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