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Contact: Primus Hutchinson

Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - A policy on the abandonment of public office is among the Cabinet conclusions to be amended. This announcement came from Cabinet Secretary, Dr. James Fletcher, during his monthly Cabinet briefing held at the Government Information Service, Tuesday.

According to Dr. Fletcher, Cabinet has agreed that any public officer who has been absent from office for ten consecutive days without permission from his or her head of department and has failed to alert the respective ministry or department regarding the reason or reasons for the prolonged absence, shall on the eleventh day, have his or her salary promptly discontinued.

However, it is for the relevant service commission to decide that a public officer has indeed vacated his or her post. Dr. Fletcher indicated that while this is not a common occurrence, it does have financial implications for the state.

“If for example, an officer has vacated his post and the head of department or permanent secretary has not invoked the necessary procedure, that officer continues to be paid a salary, and you will find that somebody continues to be paid a salary for a service that they are no longer rendering to the state,” Dr. Fletcher said.

Dr. Fletcher stressed the importance of an officer notifying the necessary establishment after ten days, stating that, this is a reasonable period of time in which to inform the relevant department regarding one’s prolonged absence.

The Cabinet conclusion also states that in a case where persons are not appointed by the service commissions, the permanent secretary in the ministry of the public service will deem the officer to have vacated his or her post.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet secretary said government has agreed to the disestablishment of a number of schools on the island. Dr. Fletcher said, this is to allow the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports to better manage the school population.

According to Dr. Fletcher, the ministry has cited a number of benefits as a result of that initiative, among them being the ability to better able to monitor progress of students, continuity in the implementation of the syllabi and the creation of a wider pool of resources and opportunities for staff.

Among the schools to be disestablished, are the Choiseul primary school, Choiseul infant school, the Laborie infant school, the Entrepot infant school and the Babonneau infant school.

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