Public Sector Reforms: 6. Effects of the Travel Bans

Edited extracts from my Interview with Parmesh Chand, Permanent Secretary Public Service Commission. Vinaka, Tui, for this transcript.

Croz: How are travel bans affecting you?
Parmesh Chand: All the Permanent Secretaries are on the travel ban. Any official who accepts a senior appointment in government which is a gazette appointment. They pick up the Gazette notice and put you on travel ban. 

I was a permanent secretary long before the coup. The permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s office got pushed out so did a number of others. I was one of the two top performing permanent secretaries. The other lady who was my counterpart, she got appointed by the Ministry of Education and I got selected to go to PrimeMinister’s Office and then came the travel ban on me and my family.

I’m still on the travel ban and New Zealand and Australian Officials will not come to this
office to discuss anything. I think they should relax the travel ban on government officials at least. I mean the civil servants are contracted by the Public Service Commission to provide a service.

I can understand why the ban is on the key people but I can’t see why it comes down to the
civil service, nor I can’t see why it goes to the lower ranks or the rugby? 

Australia runs a leadership programme called PACE and permanent secretaries are in positions of leadership. They lead ministries. But they don’t invite permanent secretaries. They will send you the invites and if you register your name, they will say no it was not meant for you .

I attended a Pacific Island Commissioners' Conference of Public Service held in the
Solomon Islands that was funded by the Commonwealth, Australia and New Zealand. But they refused to fund us so we decided to fund ourselves and went. It became obvious that we were being sidelined, so the Tongan guy stood up and said, 'Look, Fiji has got the largest
public service out of the Pacific Island countries and they have paid their way to be here. Why are we excluding them?' So the Australians and Kiwi’s chickened out after that, although they didn’t reimburse us anything. We didn’t want anything but we wanted to be
treated properly.


Anonymous said…
Mr Chand makes a lot of sense - he should be government minister.

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