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Rambachan reads riot act to public servants

Suruj URPWorks and Infrastructure Minister, Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, read the riot act to public servants whom he publicly identified as those who “work side by side with Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) personnel,” telling them that their tardiness on the job, was badly affecting the programme.

Not mincing his words as he delivered the feature address at yesterday’s graduation ceremony of 90 persons from the Entrepreneurship Training Programme at Signature Hall, Chaguanas. The tough talking minister went so far as to say that he was prepared to chuck his job as a Cabinet minister, and take over the management of the programme “in the interest of the taxpayers dollars.”

Rambachan said, “The year 2013 is the death of this kind of behaviour. As line minister, I am taking responsibility, and if I need to go down to Autorama (URP headquarters in El Socorro) and change from being a minister to a manager, I will change from being a minister to a manager, to manage the programme in the interest of taxpayers dollars in this country, I will.”

He expressed his displeasure with the quality of supervision of the URP programme and the projects they undertake, saying that the general management of the programme needed to be looked into, and in 2014 management including programme manager, Richard Thomas, will be called upon to account for every cent spent.

“I am not happy with the way labour is used in the programme,” he continued.

“This programme costs the country over $400 million a year, that is a lot of taxpayers money of which $44 million is paid in salaries.

At Autorama, the programme managers in different areas, the regional managers, they are going to be called upon to account, because when you divide $44 million in terms of how many projects are being done, you can have a very high overhead cost.

Rambachan continued: “I have to be very careful about overheads in this programme. From programme manager, Mr Thomas, come down will be called upon to account.”

He said he has asked that every month “at test 75 new community projects” must come on board to be approved by the minister. “But so far I am not getting that number of projects, so there has to be a shift, a tremendous paradigm shift in terms of how Autorama is working .”

In his appeal to public servants “who deal with letters of awards to the contractors and sending out people’s payments upon completion of their jobs, Rambachan revealed that the process was, far too slow. …READ MORE

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