BIPARTISAN COCK-UPS!

Bordelais—a true bipartisan cock-up! What would our politcians say if you asked them about this dumping ground?

As election time draws near, we can all look forward to hearing what our present and prospective parliamentarians intend to do about crime. Doubtlessly, we will be treated to the exact same fare as last time.
Let’s look at Bordelais, the parking lot for presumed, actual and “wannabee” criminals.
The facility that was built for just under 500 regularly houses almost 600; of these between 150 and 250 will be “presumed innocent” because they are on remand and have never gone to trial. Some have been waiting for well over four years for their cases to be heard, so it is truly a bipartisan cock-up.
After the hurricane the occupancy dropped dramatically, presumably because the court records were destroyed and many prisoners on remand were released into society.
Coincidentally, just coincidentally, you might recall that crime began to peak about that time. Just imagine, folks, we are feeding and housing, at a cost of about 10,000 dollars a day, a whole bunch of people who have not been found guilty of any crime. Ask your candidates what they are going to do about the backlog of cases; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try.
Bordelais is a true bipartisan cock-up; it always has been a mess and it continues be one. It is under-funded, understaffed and the leadership has no legal authority to discipline the officers; never had, never will have.
The Public Service Commission is apparently the entity that would deal with cases of misconduct by public servants of every ilk. Unfortunately, my little brain cannot understand the need for a Ministry of Public Service, a Public Service Commission and even a Union when all they seem to do is protect public servants, not the general public.
Ask your candidates what they are going to do about public service reform; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try. Kenny tried it in his day, but then abandoned the idea after Didacus Jules had presented a plan. The present government seems too timid to even recognize, let alone tackle the problem. The monumental bipartisan cock-up that is the public service is not the driving force of this country; it is the weeping wound that drains our energies—financial, entrepreneurial, emotional, you name it.
Back to Bordelais; I don’t suppose it is common knowledge, though in RoRoLand St Lucia everything seems to be common knowledge, that 28 cases of alleged misconduct by officers, not including the new recruits, that’s one in five of the “old guard”, ranging from refusing to be searched before entering the facility to bringing contraband into the prison are before the Commission, and some have been for up to a year or more. Ask your candidates what they are going to do about the high percentage of officers who have issues pending before the Commission; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try.
Meanwhile, officers are continuing to work, or in cases such as officers suspected of being involved with more serious crimes that might, for example, include involvement in escapes, where the officers are sent home with pay—with pay, I repeat—they might have every opportunity to work at an additional job during their time at home, thus doubling their income.
Ask your candidates what they are going to do about the lack of authority at the prison; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try. Ask about public servants sent home because of alleged misconduct who lift their pay each month and double their money by doing another job—which, by the way, I believe is against Staff Orders or some regulation or other.
Did you know that a public servant has to be sick for 90 consecutive days in order for the case to be referred to some sort of medical council for evaluation? There are examples of public servants being ill for 89 days, returning to work for a day or two and then continuing to be sick!
I could, and probably will in a future article, give you real attendance figures showing absence from work over years and years that hovers around 75 percent. I could show you figures where one notorious malingerer shows up to work every tenth day because undocumented absence of 10 days constitutes desertion of his or her post. Ask your candidates what they are going to do about public service work ethic; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try.
I know math is not a popular subject, but a public servant who earns 6,000 a month but works seldom or never, costs the country 72,000 a year. If there were 10 or so in every Ministry—and believe you me there are many more professional “stepping outers”, we would soon be up to much more than $10,000,000 a year in unearned salaries.
Sadly, those many public servants who do work hard are tarnished by those who don’t, but it is not easy for a junior public servant to criticize his or her superiors. Equally sadly, the higher up they go, the further they step out. And as for their annual leave, well, gosh!
How can anyone accumulate 260 vacation days? Let’s say a high-ranking officer gets 8 weeks leave, 40 days; he or she would have to have worked six-and-a-half years without a single day off work to accumulate so many days holiday. But, believe it or not, there are senior public servants who could take a year or two off work in compensation for “the dedication to duty”. Bullshit!
Use it or lose it! If you do not take a vacation, you lose it. Amazingly, holiday hamsters seem to be those who most often step out. Ask your candidates what they are going to do about people who abuse the system; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try.
Regarding the majority of cases concerning prison matters that have come before the Public Service Commission, if my memory serves me correctly, many if not most, have featured lawyers that have either been in power or aspire to power, or seek to regain power. In my opinion, they have not sought the truth; they have simply wriggled and squiggled to find every conceivable procedural anomaly and loophole in order to get the best deal, including a return to work with lots of financial compensation, for their client, but not for the country. Let me be clear; I am not talking about guilt or innocence; I am talking about cases where “procedure”, “favoritism”, “nepotism”, and “loopholes” have been the issues that have saved the culprits.
Ask your candidates what they are going to do about lawyers who seek power after manipulating, if not the law, then ethical practice, by subverting the authority
of the prison system; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try.
What credibility as a crime fighter or a defender of the public interest, can a lawyer have who has manipulated the reinstatement of a suspended or dismissed public servant, not on the grounds of guilt or innocence, but on a technicality?
Even our politicians have to understand that once you do a crook a favour, you are in his power; you have sold your soul. You cannot turn round after gaining, or regaining, political power and change spots overnight to become the legal leopard that safeguards justice and safety in the name of the people.
This applies equally to prison officers who supply inmates with illegal substances; they end up in the clutches of those under their supervision; they just wear different uniforms.
Check your candidates records. What have they been up to whilst in office? And what dealings have they done whilst out of office? When they promised themselves in matrimony with their people, did they do it for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, or did they end up richer and healthier while the country ended up poorer and sicker?
Ask your candidates what they have been doing the last four or five years; you probably won’t get a sensible answer, but it’s worth a try.

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