ETHEL Frances’ recent appointment as the new Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock was not done on the basis of her political affiliation.
Rather, the Public Service Commission (PSC) made the appointment in consultation with the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Press Secretary of the Prime Minister, Douglas Marau, made the clarification in response to accusations Ms Frances got the top job because of her connection of Prime Minister Rick Hou’s political party.
“The fact is Ms Frances is not a member of the PM’s political party, nor does she has any connections to the prime minister,” Mr Marau said.
“Therefore, the Prime Minister will not waste his time to respond to these fallacious claims,” he added.
Ms Frances replaced former permanent secretary, Jimmy Saelea whose contract ended recently.
She becomes the third female to currently hold the post of permanent secretary.
Ms Frances holds a master in business management from the University of Queensland and a bachelor in accounting and financial management and management and public administration from the University of South Pacific (USP) and a diploma in business studies from the former Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE).
She has started her working career as a tutor and lecturer at the former SICHE now SINU from 1997 to 2002.
Chairman of the Public Service Commission was away overseas and could not be reached for comments.
Sources in the ministry claimed Ms Frances was never interviewed for the job.
They claimed those who have applied and interviewed were waiting for the results when the announcement came that Ms Frances was the new permanent secretary.
When contacted, Ms Frances said she prefers to let the Public Service Commission and the Office of the Prime Minister respond to those allegations.
By ANDREW FANASIA