Rowley: I never accused public servants of being lazy
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley is facing backlash over controversial statements he made about public servants at the handing over ceremony of 200 motorcycles to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) from the People’s Republic of China on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister said the managers of the Police Service must know where the motorcycles are at all times and must also keep proper logs.
He added that there are a lot of people on the payroll, many of whom produce absolutely nothing, collect a salary at the end of the month and make the most ‘noise’ if their pay is late.
“Many of them produce absolutely nothing when the day comes, collect a salary at the end of the month and make most noise when pay is late,” he said.
Rowley has come under fire for the statement.
Public Service Association (PSA) President, Watson Duke said he was shocked by the comments.
“It worries all 80,000 public servants of this country. (And) it hurts us to the core. It says that the mother, that good worker who leaves south at 4 am to come to Port of Spain for an 8 o’ clock job, that leaves work at 5-6 to get home, that your efforts are not recognised,” Duke said.
However, the Prime Minister has denied accusing public servants of being lazy
“I never used the word lazy nor did I accuse all public servants nor did I accuse the Public Service of being lazy. I spoke specifically about the use of GPS on the motorcycles which should allow the MANAGERS to be able to account for the whereabouts of their officers. I also spoke of the use of a diary in earlier times to allow worker productivity and whereabouts to be monitored and that this resulted in more public service by officers on the payroll.
"Clearly this was a discourse about whereabouts and not necessarily about laziness. This seems to have escaped the mental grasp of many who jump on what they want and that is a manufactured controversy,” the Prime Minister said in a Facebook post.
He further lashed out at one media house over its reporting on the issue.
“Incidentally, since I never used the word "lazy" it is wrong for the Guardian to piggyback on an Express sensationalism by using reported speech in the Guardian editorial when the word was never used. I wonder if the Guardian even bothered to listen to the speech or just simply copied an issue from the Express,” he said.