Nassau, Bahamas - Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Interim Leader Philip Davis has lambasted the Free National Movement (FNM) and its leader Dr. Hubert Minnis for victimization, after several senior National Insurance Board (NIB) employees were placed on paid leave.
In a statement yesterday, Mr. Davis called the move vengeful and said the FNM learned nothing about governance during their time as opposition.
“The Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, who is also the minister responsible for the National Insurance Board, must immediately inform the country why at least three employees of the National Insurance Board were summarily dismissed by the board yesterday, May 29,” Mr. Davis said.
“Without some urgent clarification by the prime minister, the country can only conclude that this is rank victimization, discrimination and intimidation. This means that the FNM has learned nothing about governance from the five years it was out of office. It has returned to office with a vengeance, slashing and burning as they go along and hurting small people.
“The facts are that yesterday, May 29, at least three senior employees of the National Insurance Board were informed by letter that they were to proceed on vacation without stating a time for the so-called vacation; they were told not to return to the premises at any time during the time off.
“None of the employees had applied for the vacation. They were directed to take a vacation. This is not possible in their contract of employment. They have in effect been put on involuntary leave with pay.”
The leader of the Official Opposition added that this is not the first time an incident such as this has occurred under the FNM.
“The government has arbitrarily abrogated the terms of employment of these employees and there has been a fundamental breach of their contracts of employment,” Mr. Davis said.
“It is interesting to note that some of these employees were treated in the same way in 2007 when Brensil Rolle was the parliamentary secretary for Housing and National Insurance. Now he is the junior minister and the same thing is happening again.
“The PLP decries this as a flagrant violation of the rights of these individuals. We encourage them to take the appropriate legal action against this unlawful behavior. The PLP condemns it.”
The Bahama Journal understands that Cecile Williams-Bethel, NIB senior deputy director of operations, Theresa Burrows, NIB senior deputy director of business support and administration, and Dr Baldwin Carey were given letters on Monday asking them to take their vacations effective from today.
A fourth official said to be out of office yesterday, Deputy Director of IT Raymond Wells, also will be asked to take his vacation leave once he returns to office.