GG urged to intervene in suspension of nurses

Hon. John Dean Kuku
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LEADER of the Independent Group, Dean Kuku calls on the Governor General to retrieve some of the emergency powers vested in the Prime Minister following the suspension of some senior nurses.

In a statement Kuku said:

“I am deeply disturbed as a one-time public service minister, that due process wasn’t followed to warrant the nurses’ suspension.”

He said there are preconditions for suspension, as highlighted in various high court judgments, which included:

  1. That suspension orders must be in the interest of public service
  2. Investigations should have been carried out prior to the suspension
  3. Whether it is considered undesirable to transfer the suspended officer to other work while disciplinary proceedings are carried out.

Kuku said the suspended nurses had a justifiable claim for which they may be disciplined, but there is a process government must follow which protects both government and the suspended individuals.

“Sadly, this wasn’t the case,” the Independent leader said.

“It seems, the PM undoubtedly put unnecessary pressure through the oversight committee on Covid-19, on the public service, through the permanent secretary to issue letters of suspension,” he added.

Kuku said the government’s action was an attack on our democracy emanating from the unintended consequences of the powers vested in the Prime Minister under the State of Public Emergency for which the PM and GG must be held accountable.

“I call on the GG to intervene, because the PM’s powers under the state of public emergency is not unfettered, rather it can be checked, given the collateral damage caused.”

Kuku said looking at what transpired in the nurses’ suspension there was no way they would receive justice in their cases from the public service because the process leading to their suspension is already tainted with irregularities.

“The public service has a big role to play fair go, and be the buffer when political interference comes to play.

“But when we give allowance for this to play out unchecked, it simply means our country is leaning towards dictatorial governance.

“In its current form, it is too open for executive abuse.”