JIS News

Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis, is calling for a wider view of governance so that the public could begin to request of the other players in society, the same sort of transparency and accountability it demanded of the state.
He was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Good Governance: Perception versus reality’ held recently at Jamaica House. Other members of the panel were Senator Professor Trevor Munroe and Dr. Herbert Thompson, President of the Northern Caribbean University.
The panelists concurred, that while governance was usually thought to be a matter solely between government and the people it represented, the process also involved the private sector, civil society, interest groups, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and others.
Dr. Davis noted, that while government had a major role to play in the matter of governance, it was not the only factor and other stakeholders such as the private sector and the NGO community, also had roles to play.
In his presentation entitled: ‘The Role of Techno-Bureaucrats in Ensuring Good Governance,’ Dr. Davis noted that the category of public employees comprising technical and administrative personnel, also played a key role in ensuring good governance.
He said that in undertaking its role, the techno-bureaucrat must be “fit” to survive in a changed local and international environment, the features of which were increased focus on results as well as more dispersion of power, greater need for policy coherence across government, increased public scrutiny and increased focus on economic development.The Cabinet Secretary pointed out that given that many of the issues faced by government, whether in a regulatory or “doing it itself” capacity were technical ones, the techno-bureaucrat must have the appropriate mix of technical skills.
He noted further, that techno-bureaucrats needed to acquire a number of skills, to be successful managers.
These include having substantive knowledge of industries such as bauxite, alumina, tourism and public transportation; skills derived from experience of the procedures of government for example managing the public expenditure process and administering statutes and laws; and the relevant values and attitudes including proper ethical behaviour and fairness in operation.
Meanwhile, noting that successful outcomes were a key indicator of the quality of governance, Dr. Davis said he had requested that an outcome analysis be undertaken to ascertain the effect of government projects and programmes.
Stating that, “where we have some way to go is in respect of outcomes”, Dr. Davis said that, “for example, it is generally conceded that the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is doing a very good job in the implementation of projects such as playing fields, community centres and schools, but I think much less is known about the outcomes, that is, the impacts these outcomes are having.”
He further acknowledged, that while a lot of work has been put into enacting laws affecting many areas of the country’s development, because of poor enforcement, the desired outcomes have not been achieved.
“One only has to refer to the Noise Abatement Act for you to understand what I am saying. It is in this vein, that the Cabinet Office is supporting a Regulatory Impact Assessment Project (with the aid of the World Bank) to see what have been the outcomes in respect of the regulatory regimes for utilities, and fair competition which we established in the 1990s,” he added.
The panel discussion was the second in a series organized by the Government Communication Group. The third session will take place on January 12, 2006 when the topic to be discussed will be ‘The Transforming landscape of Jamaica’s economy.’