Feature
Finance and Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke (centre, seated) signs a new Heads of Agreement for the nation’s teachers for the 2017 to 2021 contract period. The agreement was signed between the Government and Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) at the Finance Ministry. Also signing (from left) are Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, Hon. Fayval Williams; and JTA President, Georgia Waugh Richards. Overseeing the proceedings is Principal Director for the Ministry’s Compensation Management and Implementation Branch, Lorna Phillips.
Photo: File Photo

Story Highlights

  • The Government took steps to strengthen the corporate governance framework in 2018, with the development of new rules to guide the nomination, selection and appointment of public Boards.
  • • Cabinet approved the guidelines, which are in keeping with its commitment to public-sector reform and are aimed at improving accountability and transparency in government operations.
  • • Among the provisions are retention of at least a third of the previous Board of Directors to ensure continuity in governance, even if there is a change in policy; that persons appointed to Boards have expertise in activities in which the public bodies are engaged; minimum representation of 30 per cent of each gender on every public B2oard; and that a minimum of 25 per cent of the Board must be considered independent as defined in the regulations.

The Government took steps to strengthen the corporate governance framework in 2018, with the development of new rules to guide the nomination, selection and appointment of public Boards.

• Cabinet approved the guidelines, which are in keeping with its commitment to public-sector reform and are aimed at improving accountability and transparency in government operations.

• Among the provisions are retention of at least a third of the previous Board of Directors to ensure continuity in governance, even if there is a change in policy; that persons appointed to Boards have expertise in activities in which the public bodies are engaged; minimum representation of 30 per cent of each gender on every public B2oard; and that a minimum of 25 per cent of the Board must be considered independent as defined in the regulations.

• Directors’ appointments will also be limited to three public bodies, and chairmanship will be restricted to two.

• By the end of the year, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel had completed the first draft of the guidelines, which the Ministry had commenced reviewing.

PSOJ Public Bodies Corporate Governance Awards
• The National Health Fund (NHF) won the 2018 renewal, copping top awards for Excellence in Public Sector Corporate Governance, Board Composition and Structure, and Best Website.
• The entity also received prizes in the categories of Corporate Governance Policies, Procedures and Practices; Compliance and Disclosure of Information.
• Other category winners included Jamaica Deposit Insurance Company Limited (JDIC) for Corporate Governance Policies, Procedures and Practices; Ex-Im Bank for Compliance and Disclosure of Information; and Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) for Risk Measurement and Management of Internal Control and Best Annual Report.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke (right), presents the prize for Excellence in Public Bodies Corporate Governance to the National Health Fund team (from left) Chief Executive Officer, Everton Anderson, and Board members, Duke Holness and Cecille Watson. Occasion was the Public Bodies Corporate Governance Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

 

Civil Service Awards
• 385 civil servants, who have served for more than 25 years each, were honoured by the Government for their invaluable and dedicated service to Jamaica.

Special Early Retirement Programme (SERP)
• 589 public-sector employees, aged 50 to 59, who were under the non-contributory government pension scheme, took up the voluntary early retirement offer through an incentivised package.
• Excluded were groups such as the security forces, teachers and healthcare professionals.
• Included in the SERP was the offer of two weeks’ salary for each year of service up to a maximum of one year’s salary and payment for vacation leave not taken.
• Support was provided to successful applicants in the form of financial guidance and life counselling to assist with transitioning.

MyHR+
• The integrated HR and payroll system has, to date, been rolled out in 10 ministries, departments and agencies

Public Bodies Rationalisation Project
• Five entities were closed and four merged.

Wage Agreement
• The Government concluded negotiations for a four-year, 16-per cent salary increase for the 2017 to 2021 contract period with 91 per cent of the public-sector bargaining units.
• The latest to sign were nurses and rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) from the level of Constable to Inspector.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke (left); and Jamaica Police Federation (JPF) Chair, Corporal Arlene McBean, display the Heads of Agreement for a four-year 16 per cent wage increase for rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), covering the period 2017 to 2021. The signing took place at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston. Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (second right); and JPF General Secretary, Inspector Sheldon Gordon, witnessed the proceedings.

 

Education Grants
• The Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) awarded grants totalling $11 million to 220 tertiary students to offset tuition costs at the 17 institutions they attend.

Queen’s Warehouse
• The newly upgraded Queen’s Warehouse on Spanish Town Road was reopened, with additional space to facilitate increased storage capacity for the Jamaica Customs Agency as well as importers.