Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arbitrary polygraph testing…

Unfolding situation is indeed a very serious one
August 26, 2009 | By KNews | Filed Under News

Arbitrary polygraph testing…
The Government is still ignoring the suggestion that it should lead by example, said President of Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), Patrick Yarde, when he commented recently about government’s response to the union’s take on the use of polygraph tests.
Yarde at a press conference had highlighted the notion that the manner in which polygraph tests are imposed in this country, clearly exemplifies the pursuit of narrow political objectives, and therefore cannot be perceived as in the national interest. As a result he had disclosed that the union has advised public servants not to take any polygraph tests.
However, Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, at his most recent press briefing told media operatives that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
GPSU President, Patrick Yarde

GPSU President, Patrick Yarde

According to Dr Luncheon, although Yarde has the free will to tell the workers not to take the test, the administration would advise them to conform. “Why don’t you await - if it does occur - a resolution of these conflicting instructions from Patrick Yarde there… I suppose is their putative boss, or from the administration.
“We are talking here specifically about screening polygraphy. I think the gentleman might be somewhat confused about screening polygraphy and investigating polygraphy. We don’t need polygraphy to investigate…We have good people to investigate…for example the arson at the Ministry of Health.”
However, Dr Luncheon did note that it would be mandatory that persons entering the system be subjected to screening polygraphy in order for them to continue providing the service for which they were employed.
But according to Yarde, the response was only forthcoming sometime after the union’s pronouncement. According to him, “people had to go back to the drawing board. I know they would have had problems responding to us.”
Further, Yarde said that he has noticed that the response from the government side completely ignores the fact that they should lead by example. “They aren’t touching that. They seem to feel that they should not lead by example. They seem to believe they are above the law and can do anything and not be accountable.”
As such, the Union President noted that the government’s action suggests that there are different classes and privileges in the society.
Commenting on the recently concluded Robert Simels case, Yarde emphasised the fact that neither those who gave evidence or were convicted were forced to undertake polygraph tests. For this reason, he said that he will continue to be bothered by the fact that demands for the use of the polygraph test is mandated here.
The Union President had expressed his belief that there seems to be a conspiracy and even deliberate act by government to find ways and means to dismiss people randomly. Added to this state-of-affairs, Yarde had disclosed that it has been recognised that there is a double standard which must be analysed as it relates to the use of the test.
Citing specific cases, he highlighted that the GPSU has observed Government’s intent to arbitrarily use polygraph testing on those who are employed in the operational arm of the state as well as government agencies. And this unfolding situation is indeed a very serious one, he added.
As part of the new initiative, Yarde underscored that government has blatantly and immorally exempted holders of important public offices and policy makers, including government ministers and permanent secretaries from such tests. The exempted persons, the GPSU president said are required by oath to lawfully and faithfully discharge their functions with outstanding and unquestionable integrity.
Moreover, the GPSU President questioned why such individuals should not be required to be tested equally, given the fact that the regime holds the polygraph testing process and mechanism in high regard.
According to him given that there are many questions about the conduct of public office holders their innocence should also be determined by the tests.

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