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KINGSTON — General Secretary, Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO), Helene Davis Whyte, says that public sector workers have an important role to play in the development of gender sensitive policies being implemented by Caribbean Governments.

"This is something as public sector workers we will have to look at, to ensure that we play our own part in trying to ensure that whatever policies are developed by our political directorates in the Caribbean, that they are influenced by public sector workers who recognise the importance of gender sensitivity in our planning," Mrs Davis Whyte said.

She was speaking Friday (July 29), at a press briefing at the Jamaica Conference Centre, by the Caribbean Public Services Association (CPSA), to close its 41st annual conference. The CPSA's 41st annual conference was held, July 24-29, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

She said that public sector workers have an important role to play in the delivery of quality service to the public.

"There are notions out there, within the public arena, that public sector workers are the enemies of the taxpayers and, in fact, the opposite is true," Mrs. Davis Whyte said.

"Our role and commitment is to deliver quality service to the people whom we serve. So that is something we want our governments to focus on, when they are talking about cuts in the public sector, the effects that these cuts will have on quality services to citizens in the region," she added.

President Jamaica Civil Service Association, O'Neil Grant, said that the way to improve the quality of service in the public sector was not through cutting the sector.

"What we have always said is that it is not the individual in the system that causes it not to work, it is the system and how it is set up," Mr. Grant said.

He said that the sector has been looking at transforming how it delivers service and the Cabinet office has done extensive work, through the public sector transformation unit, to look at the role of government and how it fits in with "the tripartite of business, government and society".

"Quality public service must be delivered, and it is something that we hold very dear," Mr. Grant said.

He also urged the government to move ahead with the creation of a social partnership in Jamaica.

"Jamaica has signed a public sector Memorandum of Understanding, but has not gone on to sign a social partnership arrangement. It is something that we would want to press on with. We have been talking from 2004, and I think we need to just get some action with that," he said.  

The CPSA is a regional Federation of public sector workers, which was formed in the 1970s. The Federation has membership in 15 Caribbean countries. The Secretariat is located in Dominica and next year the conference will be held in Montserrat.

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter