Social activist Hamilton Lashley, who has operated from the bowels of both major political parties here, today said the time had come for an end to “senseless” political sackings whenever there was a change of administration.
Lashley, who served in Cabinet at various times during the reign of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), told Barbados TODAY both parties have engaged in the “vicious cycle of politically motivated firing and hiring”.
However, in the wake of this week’s sacking of three senior officers at the National Housing Corporation (NHC), including General Manager Lanette Napoleon-Young and Human Resource Manager Sheona Kellman, the retired politician said the country could no longer afford to bring down the political axe on public workers.
“The process of firing people is a very hurtful thing. I don’t know the current reasons as to why people might want to fire this bunch of persons. It could be because of their political affiliation, but I don’t know. However it is really a policy that we could do without,” Lashley said.
“The reality is that once you are aligned to a political party or because of your own political persuasion you can feel the axe. It makes no sense and it is something that I would like to see removed from politics,” he added.
Since Napoleon-Young’s firing on Monday, there has been no official word, except for confirmation by Douglas Skeete, the chairman of the board of the state housing agency, of the story first run by Barbados TODAY.
Repeated calls to Minister of Housing George Payne have proved unsuccessful and Minister of Labour Colin Jordan yesterday refused to be drawn into commenting on the issue.
Lashley today said while he was not prepared to speculate on the reasons for the high-level firings, those charged with making the decision ought explain their rationale.
“The only thing that should matter is the capabilities of a person to do the job and if they are to be fired there needs to be a justifiable reason. The public must also be told of that reason,” he stressed.
Lashley represented St Michael South East from 1994 until his retirement ahead of the 2013 general election, first as a member of the BLP under then Prime Minister Owen Arthur, then as a member of the DLP after he switched allegiance following Arthur’s defeat in 2008.