First District Representative, Public Accounts Committee Member, Hon. Andrew Fahie questioned why disciplinary actions are yet to be taken against Deputy Financial Secretary, Wendell Gaskin, who – according to Hon. Fahie – has committed certain actions that warrant disciplinary measures.
During his debate of the Public Accounts Committee Report on the Cruise Pier project, Hon. Fahie highlighted various actions that were allegedly perpetrated by Mr. Gaskin, and he opined that in any other country such actions or allegations of such actions would have resulted in an investigation into the complaints against that senior public servant.
The complaints against Mr. Gaskin include allegations that the Deputy Financial Secretary provided information that was not true to the Public Accounts Committee , which is an arm of the House of Assembly, and that he insulted the Auditor General, Ms. Sonia Webster during the PAC deliberations. The PAC member also stated that there are reports that Mr. Gaskin has been rude to other public servants.
In highlighting the complaints, Hon. Fahie said: “This is not in the report, but personally public servants have complained to me that the Deputy Financial Secretary swears at them in the Government office and went on to them in the highest height, but they have nobody to turn to. What am I elected for? And he can say that I spoke to him and told him he cannot cuss bad word in the Government office. You don’t speak to people like that. So Madam Speaker, who will bell this cat?”
Hon. Fahie openly questioned why disciplinary actions were not taken against Mr. Gaskin: “Madam Speaker, if this goes unnoticed and go without being looked into, Madam Speaker it would have been a travesty, Madam Speaker.”
He added: “Government will paint him as a knight in shining armour and we know why. In any other country, I wouldn’t be here talking about this, it would have already been dealt with…I bet you if it was anybody not supporting the Government you would have heard the cry.”
The PAC member was very firm on his call for the matter to be looked into and announced that it would be unfair if other public servants are disciplined while Mr. Gaskin is spared: “I don’t want to hear it. I continue to say something wrong cannot be right depending on who you love and the right cannot be wrong depending on who you hate, and this is how the country is quickly becoming…You feel because your Government is in power and they can back you up and nobody is protecting the public service.”
During a press conference on 8 July, reporters asked Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith whether Government was going to adhere to the PAC’s call for Mr. Gaskin to be disciplined.
In response Hon. Smith said: “It has to be considered. If there is any report made on any public officer, then it has to be taken seriously, which means that whatever the report is it has to be considered by Government…There will be a hearing and the public officer will have the opportunity to give his views as well as witnesses…Whatever the process is it will be a fair process.”