Government Ministries

The business of the government of Jamaica is conducted by a number of ministries, each headed by a minister, who is selected by the Prime Minister from the members of the Houses of Parliament.

The Prime Minister has the overall responsibility and, except where specifically limited by the Constitution, has the power to make decisions without consultation with any sector of Parliament, including the Monarchy.

Each minister is allocated a central office, and each ministry is assigned specific departments, statutory boards and agencies. Ministries may name committees to advise them on specialized aspects of their responsibilities.

In ministries with widespread functions, persons with knowledge and experience in particular subjects may be appointed to assist. There are two such categories of ministerial assistant: Minister of State and Parliamentary Secretary.

Each ministry is administered by a senior civil servant, called a Permanent Secretary. Some of this authority is delegated to the heads of departments, assistant under secretaries, principal assistant secretaries and chief accountants. The Permanent Secretary is the accountable officer for the ministry.

Ministries are divided into departments, which are co-ordinated in order to bring about the effective running of the ministry.

Statutory Bodies
When a ministry is unable to supply local knowledge in a particular area, the Government usually set up a statutory body which take care of these demands.

A statutory body is a board set up by statute for a particular purpose. This board operates solely within the laws that created it.

Because of its involvement in the public sector a statutory body must be controlled by Government, which is free to cancel its statutory status at any time. Although this body is basically autonomous, in some instances the Government does provide funds, in which case a report must be given on how the money is spent.

The personnel of a statutory body are not civil servants. A statutory body is free to sue, and, can be sued, in its own name.