The creation of four new ministries following the Prime Minister's Cabinet shake-up last Friday is sending ripples through the Public Service.
In Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's announcement last Friday she unveiled the Ministry of Tertiary Education, a split from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education which will be headed by Fazal Karim.
There is now the Ministry of the Environment & Water Resources, taking the Environment aspect away from the Ministry of Housing and the Environment.
This will be headed by former WASA CEO Ganga Singh.
The Ministry of Communication will be led by Jamal Mohammed, and the Ministry of National Diversity & Social Integration will have former minister in the ministry of education Clifton de Coteau at the helm.
In a telephone interview, head of the Public Service Reynold Cooper told the Sunday Express that these new ministries can take as much as three months to get off the ground, as now several logistical hurdles present themselves, the biggest of which is finding staff.
Staffing falls under the Ministry of Public Administration.
"Each ministry has its standard staff, a Permanent Secretary and a Deputy Permanent secretary or secretaries. Then there's the head of accounts, a legal department, human resources, communications and information technology," Cooper explained. "Then once your ministry branches out there may be a need for specialists. The President, on the advice of the Prime Minister will give directions as to what forms the ministerial schedule. That schedule will determine how much staff a ministry requires and by extension how much space they will need."
Where a ministry is housed falls under the purview of the Property and Real Estate Division within the Ministry of Housing.
But a top official within the Ministry of Public Administration, speaking under condition of anonymity told the Sunday Express that these changes are actually "pain and tears for the average public officer".
The official said, "When these things happen, there is mass confusion, and ministries fight to acquire the best staff or to get rid of problem staff. The Service Commission then becomes involved, and they deal with the promotions of public servants to senior positions. The Ministry of Planning still hasn't gotten letters of promotion from last year's reshuffle."
Beyond staff, the little changes cause an issue as well. Signs need to be changed, cars need to be rebranded and thousands of dollars worth of stationery will be thrown out and thousands of dollars of stationery reprinted.
No one could give a figure on just how much it costs to create a new ministry, not even former prime minister Basdeo Panday, who said he could not even give a ballpark figure.
Cooper would only say, "If you go on vacation you may know how much you have and how much you want to spend, but things may come up and then you may end up spending much more."