Appointments and Promotions in the Civil Service

Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago

2nd Year No 67 – Friday 18th November, 1955

There is widespread discontent regarding appointments and promotions in the Civil Service. We receive the complaints of victims quite regularly.

People who find that undeserving candidates have been appointed or promoted get exasperated and exclaim: What can be done to put an end to such glaring injustice?

We are not the only person to whom the victims of injustice open their bleeding hearts. Our dailies give vent sometimes to their hurt feelings and our MLC’s not infrequently have to intervene.

To-day we are quoting specific cases of appointment that have roused feelings. We hope evil tongues will not wag to say that we are actuated by malice towards any department or community. We want justice — justice which is neither white nor black, neither brown nor yellow.

First, we shall deal with cases that have been disposed of recently.

Observatory. It appears from a note published in Le Cernéen of the 5th of this month that some applicants have been interviewed by a selection committee on the 20th of September for posts of Temporary Observers. Le Cernéen has expressed its apprehension in this way: “Le PRO pourrait-il demander au Directeur de l’Observatoire à qui ont été attribués les postes de Temporary Observers…? Selon certaines rumeurs, les heureux élus avaient été choisis bien avant cette date… »

The interview was then just another mise-en-scène.

Mauritius Institute. A correspondent of Advance had a letter published the 10th of this month about the appointment of the Director of the Mauritius Institute. In that case the Colonial Secretary had said in Council on the 11th of October that the appointment was not referred to the Public Service Commission, because it was in a different category. And the correspondent underlined that the candidate who was selected holds none of the qualifications required for that post in the Ramage Report.

The general public is not interested to know who appointed him; the question that remains to be answered is why he was appointed.

Labour: The post of an Interviewing Officer of the Employment Registration Bureau had to be filled. According to Ramage the Officer must be a holder of London Matriculation Certificate. The holder of a Monitor’s Certificate without any experience of the work got it and the officer who was filling the post since its creation in 1951 was discarded.

Who will tell us what made the scale tilt in favour of the selected candidate?

Dependency Administration. The newly created post of Senior Executive Officer (Rodrigues) has been filled by a clerk.

It is feared that qualifications counted for little in that appointment. It is indeed inconceivable how a first grade clerk, 41st on the list, could have been offered such promotion. And that clerk is the brother of the Magistrate of Rodrigues. Putting merit aside we wonder if the appointment can be considered as a judicious one.

* * *

It was surely the prevalent dissatisfaction that prompted Hon. Ringadoo on the 20th of September to question Government on the method of promotion in the Civil Service as applied by the Public Service Commission. When the Colonial Secretary replied on the 11th of October he gave some insight into the working of the PSC as regards not only promotion but also appointment. In that declaration Mr Newton said that the Commission has entire discretion in regard to the procedure which it adopts for assessing the claims of serving officers and others for appointment or promotion in the Public Service.

No matter who has to exercise discretion — a Head of Department, the Secretariat or the PSC – it must not be exercised in such a way as to create the impression that another name of discretion is favouritism.

* * *

We give below a few cases where discretion has yet to be exercised. Let us hope that the responsible authorities will listen to their conscience and will refuse to be swayed by outside influence.

Labour. The two posts of Temporary Labour Inspectors are still vacant. The Colonial Secretary has explained that the arbitrary age limit of 28 applies to outsiders only and not to serving officers.

If Government had this principle in mind since the beginning, why was it not expressed in the advertisement? Must we understand that the age limit for outsiders will henceforth be 28? The explanation, coming belatedly, has the ring of a lame excuse.

Post & Telegraph. The post of Assistant Postmaster General has to be filled and no academic qualification has been prescribed.

Will that not make people think that the post is vacant only for show?

Local Government. More than a month ago candidates were interviewed for a post of local Government Officer for Plaines WI/hems.

As the vacancy has not yet been filled all sorts of rumours are spreading like wildfire.

Education. An officer-in-charge is required for the Belle Rose Senior School. Applications were invited from Head Teachers having a knowledge of handicraft. No head teacher could be found for the post. Or, was the suitable candidate in the bad books of the Education Department? Anyway, applications have now been invited from First Class Assistants who have received successful training in handicrafts, who are capable of teaching elementary science including electricity and mechanical drawing.

It is evident that the required qualifications have been changed this time. Is it because some favourite First Class Assistant has got the enumerated qualifications?

And now a post of tutor at the Teachers’ Training College is being advertised within the Department by the Department itself?

It remains to be seen whether the Director will personally take all the blame or all the credit for the appointment.

Mauritius Times – 18th November 1955

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