Journal Staff Writer
As he congratulated the new Minister of Labour and Public Service Pia Glover-Rolle,
Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) President Kimsley Ferguson encouraged her to
improve communication with the union and government.
Mr. Ferguson’s comments came this week during an interview on Love 97’s talk show Issues
of the Day.
“Let me congratulate her publicly for her achievement and her promotion, but we do
admonish and encourage her to improve the lines of communication mission with the
Bahamas Public Services Union. We do not wish to be apprised or advised of situations in
media. We are partners and major stakeholders in the advancement of labour and the wheels
that keep this country turning and so we expect to be treated as such,” BPSU President
He added, “In my view, she has achieved quite a bit, I think 22 Industrial agreements is
something that can be lauded to some extent. I will please also note that there were some
concerns that we did have in relation to the public service. While we commend her and we do
believe that she is deserving of becoming the substantive minister for the public service.”
During the interview, the BPSU president was asked concerning moments during Minister
Glover-Rolle’s tenure as a minister of state, where Mr. Ferguson seemingly had to reach
beyond Minister Glover-Rolle.
He spoke of his reasoning behind seeking to speak directly with the nation’s leader
concerning public service matters.
“In relation to having to reach over, I don’t know if we can attribute her behavior towards
inexperience. I don’t want to make the bed too soft for her because now you have the whole
hog in your hands and so moving forward, you’re really going to have to, really do an
assessment of any move that you’re about to make. There was a bit of back and forth in the
media, but myself and Mrs. Pia Glover-Rolle regarding the finance and accounting officers
and particular areas, and also in relation to the industrial agreement, where we were of the
view that there was a bit of union busting taking place.”
Mr. Ferguson detailed the matter of then Minister of State Pia Glover-Rolle making
allegations against finance officers in the public service concerning unauthorized adjustments
made to their salaries, which would amount to costing the government $4 million.
“We had to explain to the minister, that the total amount of finance and accounting officers,
their salaries per annum don’t even amount to $4 million. When we got our hands on the audit
report, which the minister and the Ministry of Finance refused to give the union, but they
were using it to purport particular things. When we studied it, we find out that they were
instructed by those persons responsible for finance, to make payments to those particular
individuals. And so, again, I believe that in retrospect, if we look at the situation, both the
minister and the union can learn something. We can even more so embrace the partnership
and have dialogue so we can arrive at an amicable solution.”
Mr. Ferguson, however, seemingly has buried the old hatchet and is willing to have a better
working relationship with the new minister of public service.
“Our motto says reasoning together accomplishes. That’s the Bahamas Public Services Union
model. And before we allow the promise to be exhausted, we want to try to see exactly how
we can address concerns, as opposed to presenting ourselves in the media and bashing each
other,” the BPSU president said.
“Let’s try to be a little humane about how we govern ourselves. I don’t play politics very well.
For me, it’s either black or white. You know, I’m not perfect. But if there’s an issue that
presents itself, and we have made every opportunity to try to solve and defuse the problem,
and [if] we have to speak to it publicly, we’re going to speak to it publicly, no reservations
whatsoever, we’re going to speak to it.”