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Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis, has lauded the country’s civil servants for their contribution to national progress. He said that despite periodic problems, the civil service continued to play an important role in the development of the country.
Dr. Davis, who is also head of the Jamaica Civil Service was speaking at the launch of Civil Service Week yesterday (Nov. 22) at the offices of the Ministry of Finance and Planning. He pointed out that, if the Civil Service “did not exist, our situation as a country would have been far worse”.
He mentioned that over the years, a number of reform initiatives have been undertaken in the civil service, including the delegation of duties to the regional health authorities and giving state agencies greater autonomy in how they conduct their affairs, through the creation of executive agencies.
According to Dr. Davis, there was also the need to “focus on performance management” and to this end, he revealed plans to publish a performance report of all the Ministries of government at the next budget exercise.
“We interviewed all the Ministries and people are going to be surprised at the amount of work that is being done and the way we have managed to operate within the limited resources that we have,” he noted.
Speaking on the matter of service delivery, Dr. Davis said although 79 agencies of government either had Citizen’s Charters published or drafted as a means of improving their service to the public, the aim was to “get into triple digits sooner rather than later.”
In his remarks at the function, Acting President of the JCSA, Robert Chung said that the theme for Civil Service Week: ‘Civil Servants Putting Country Above Self’ was reflective of the commitment of civil servants “to resolving the many problems that is facing our country and of course, our dedication to nation building.”
Mr. Chung added that the memorandum of understanding between government and trade unions, which limited salary increases over a two-year period, was demonstrative of the willingness of the public sector and a mark of patriotism. “It is the ultimate sacrifice for a group of workers very commonly ill-treated and under recognised by the public but workers, who despite this, continue to make sacrifices in the interest of the nation”.
President of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, Audrey Hinchcliffe, who was the keynote speaker, acknowledged the administrative reforms being undertaken in the public sector and suggested that “concurrently, there must be special attention to issues of human resource, personal issues, appointments, promotion, training and career development and morale improvement through appropriate compensation and incentives.”
The function culminated with recognition being paid to 14 civil servants from a range of ministries and agencies, for their years of quality service.
The inaugural ‘Civil Servant of the Year’ award was copped by a very surprised Rose Henry, Deputy Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, who was almost moved to tears, when the citation hailing her professionalism and humility was read.