DEAN-ROY Bernard, who was removed as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth in 2019 and demoted to the post of director general in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, is expected to resume work as a supernumerary permanent secretary in another ministry.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke informed the House of Representatives yesterday that Bernard, whose case has been before the court since 2019, will have to take up the post of as an assistant permanent secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES) instead .
Dr Clarke explained that this means that Bernard is to be transferred to the MCGES, but he will not be the accounting officer in that ministry. He said that Jamaican laws recognise one accounting officer in each ministry, and that is the permanent secretary.
“The supernumerary permanent secretary has the position of permanent secretary, with exception that the person is not an accounting officer,” Clarke explained.
He said that it will not be the first time in Jamaican history that the position of a supernumerary permanent secretary would have existed. He said that it is now being recreated to honour the ruling of the court because all other ministries already have a permanent secretary.
“This amendment is to ensure that the will of the court is adhered to in all future transferral of the position of permanent secretary. There is no post of permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service,” he added. A numerary functions as a substitute or assistant, with regard to a regular body or staff.
Bernard had challenged the constitutionality of the transfer and asked for his reinstatement. He had argued in court that Prime Minister Andrew Holness had no authority to recommend reassignment and that the Public Service Commission had a duty to review the prime minister’s recommendation.
He also argued that neither the constitution nor the Staff Orders contemplated the forcible removal of a permanent secretary to a lower or other position within the public service. The State had argued that Bernard was transferred to the finance ministry with the designation of director general.