SARA re­ceives over 1,000 ap­pli­ca­tions for va­can­cies

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

The State As­sets Re­cov­ery Agency (SARA) has re­ceived over 1,000 ap­pli­ca­tions for the 23 va­can­cies which it re­cently ad­ver­tised, ac­cord­ing to Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Aubrey Heath-Rete­myer. Aubrey Heath-Rete­myer

“We be­lieve that once the re­cruit­ment is fin­ished, we should have the com­ple­ment of staff with the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of ad­vanc­ing the cases,” HeathRete­myer told

in a re­cent in­ter­view. He stressed that SARA is anx­ious to get every­thing in place, par­tic­u­larly be­cause “we have had a sup­ple­men­tary bud­get and we would like to be able to demon­strate that we can use the sup­ple­men­tary bud­get prop­erly.”

How­ever, HeathRete­myer said that while prepa­ra­tions are be­ing made to hire key staff mem­bers, the en­tity is en­coun­ter­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in find­ing a suit­able build­ing.

“It is that hous­ing that will al­low you to em­ploy peo­ple and find space for them. It is that hous­ing that will al­low you to pur­chase equip­ment that would be use­ful to what­ever you want to do,” he ex­plained.

The Na­tional Assem­bly has al­ready ap­proved sup­ple­men­tary funds for the monthly rental of a build­ing for SARA, which is presently be­ing housed in the com­pound of the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency.

“…We are des­per­ately look­ing for a build­ing that would be se­cure, that will have the rel­e­vant fit­tings… space and in a lo­ca­tion that would be con­ve­nient for us… to bring in peo­ple for in­ter­views, ques­tion­ing, re­ceiv­ing in­ter­na­tional part­ners…,” HeathRete­myer said.

He ad­mit­ted that prob­lems are be­ing en­coun­tered and noted that while sev­eral build­ings have been

News Stabroek iden­ti­fied, many of them “are not com­plete… we [would] have to spend quite some time fix­ing them or hav­ing the own­ers fix­ing them.”

Ac­cord­ing to HeathRete­myer, the agency has iden­ti­fied one build­ing that is ready but “we have some prob­lems get­ting con­sent and I don’t to go into the de­tails but right now we have to make the de­ci­sion …the peo­ple are go­ing to be re­cruited and we have to find some place to put them.”

He stressed that the de­lay in find­ing a build­ing will clearly af­fect the op­er­a­tions of the agency be­cause “you have to get every­thing done ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions. We can’t flout the reg­u­la­tions …and it is tak­ing time. It’s just the nat­u­ral bu­reau­cracy of govern­ments.”

In June, he had ex­plained that be­cause of limited space and the fact that the agency wants to be in­de­pen­dent, ef­forts were be­ing made to re­lo­cate. He had also in­di­cated that a build­ing would be a long term con­sid­er­a­tion.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view with Stabrok News last week, Heath-Rete­myer said that the sum given for the rental of a build­ing is an es­ti­mate in keep­ing with cur­rent mar­ket prices and it is un­clear if they will have to rent a floor or an en­tire build­ing.

PPP/C Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Juan Edghill, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Au­gust, days af­ter the sup­ple­men­tary al­lo­ca­tion was ap­proved for SARA, had ex­pressed con­cern about the rental amount.

“We don’t know where it is yet but we know it is US$8,000 per month to rent it,” he had said.

Asked about this con­cern, Heath-Rete­myer said that the op­po­si­tion says a lot of things but “the op­po­si­tion did not leave very many gov­ern­ment build­ings. I don’t see any ev­i­dence of the op­po­si­tion while in of­fice mak­ing the kinds of prepa­ra­tion for hous­ing gov­ern­ment agen­cies and min­istries.”

He said that it is be­cause of this fail­ure that the present gov­ern­ment has to spend large sums to rent build­ings. The PPP/C, he added, was in of­fice for 23 years and did not build in a sys­tem­atic way enough ca­pac­ity to house the var­i­ous

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