The decision to suspend Doctor Basil Leodoro was not only an attack on freedom of speech as enshrined in Chapter 2, Article 5 (g) of the Constitution, but unnecessary under the spirit of Section 35 of the Public Service Act (CAP 246) that provides an avenue for a resolution.
If the Public Service Commission is so concerned about how Dr Leodoro conducts himself in the social media through his comment, which were valid issues raised by him, then why didn’t it approach him in the first place instead of handing him a suspension? He was not using a fake profile.
Dr Leodoro’s comment as seen on the front page of today’s issue of Daily Post, written in Bislama in Yumi Toktok Stret Facebook page on October 22 at 5.39pm, is hardly a threat against Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, the minister responsible for Public Service.
It is a valid call for an audit to take place and for the audited report to be made public on public funds spent. It is not him alone that wants to see this happen.
We all know that if the doctor had made such request through the normal channel of communication in government, then such request would have literally drowned and buried in that channel.
A simple response to media by the Commission or Prime Minister’s Office would have sufficed, if there is nothing to hide.
Dr Basil Leodoro’s comments were simply concerns raised and not threats against the Prime Minister or the Public Service Commission as his employer.
The only threatening thing that happened in this case was the action of the Public Service Commission to end an essential service provided by Dr Leodoro to the rural population by suspending the only Masters qualified ni-Vanuatu surgeon that willingly carries out his duty to live with and serve the people in rural areas outside of Port Vila.
We say, revoke the suspension, because health service delivery to the people is more important than a simple Facebook comment, which can be sorted through communication.