SARA receives over 1,000 applications for vacancies
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