Our Readers' Opinions
June 30, 2017
Open letter to president of the PSU

Dear Mr Boucher,

I write in response to your press conference held on 20th June 2017, in which you seek to question my promotion to an assistant chief immigration officer (ACIO) at the Passports and Immigration Department, giving the reason for my appointment that my husband was the chief personnel officer (CPO) at the time.

I wish to state that, as you outlined and from my knowledge, excluding chief immigration officer (CIO), the deputy chief immigration officer (DCIO) and ACIO positions were and have always been filled by someone from outside of the department who understood the machinery of government. There were two ACIOs before my time (one deceased and the other retired). Both were not immigration officers. So, the question is why was I singled out? Was it because, as you said, my husband was CPO at the time? You stated that there are SIOs in the Department who were not given the chance to apply for the position, because it was not advertised. Was the post ever advertised? Are you suggesting that SIOs have years of training and experience and that I had none?

Mr Boucher, whatever requirements were needed for the proper functioning of the ACIO position, please be informed that I was no “square peg in a round hole”. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, were any of my former supervisors contacted: Paula Morris, Westwick Williams, Frank Jones, Laura Browne, Shirla Francis, Andrea Bowman, Yvette Pompey, Beverly Walker, Stanford Hamilton; and past ministers Mike Browne and Clayton Burgin, they can all attest to my integrity as a model public servant. I have always been a hard and professional worker at whatever I did. I was never late and was absent only in dire circumstances. The experience I gained over all those years has stood me in good stead, so transferring to the Passports and Immigration Department was not seen as a daunting task. Can you, Mr Boucher, name your supervisors, so that I can enquire about your record/performance on the job?

I too have attended numerous workshops, received training and have experience in government financial rules and regulations. My task was to be responsible for administration and mainly the financial matters within the department and in that area I was more experienced than those who went to workshops and had border training. So it begs the question, why me? Are you implying that because Mr Burke was the CPO, that his wife should not have been promoted? Have you ever questioned the other appointments to the post before and after me? So, what is your bone of contention with me? I say me, because out of all the hundreds of public servants you could have named, I was the only one mentioned in your rants.

I was appointed to the post of ACIO by the Service Commissions Department, not by Mr Burke. My years of experience, my performance, professionalism and qualifications all speak for themselves and I never went to anyone to beg for a promotion. Are you peeved that your SIO was not appointed to the post at the time?

It would seem that you went to the press conference ill prepared or with a planned vendetta against Mrs Burke from the Immigration Department. You took the Service Commissions Department to court on the presumption that senior persons (with many years) are being overlooked for promotion. When I went to the Immigration Department, I had almost 30 years in the public service and for your information, it was more years than any other person in the department. A man of your apparent stature should not have gone to a press conference and singled out one individual, except you have some motive. You should have properly done your research, so as not to contradict the very essence of your taking the Service Commissions Department to court.

I am satisfied that I have done yeoman service to the institutions where I have worked. I went above and beyond the call of duty. They will all tell you that I have left my indelible mark of professionalism and accountability. What would yours be? Maybe, just maybe, that’s why you are at the stage that you are at.

Mrs Hermisteen BurkeRetired Asst Chief Immigration Officer