The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has responded to Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding’s charge to the public sector to reduce energy usage, with the launch of its conservation programme, ‘Conservation is a Plus. Turn it off’.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles, says the Government must find ways to save money, if public sector jobs are to be saved, and that he is determined to position his Ministry as a model for others to follow.
At the launch of the conservation programme on Tuesday July 7 at the Ministry’s North Street office, Mr. Charles charged employees to be “managers” themselves. He repeated his mantra that it was better to “cut costs and save jobs, than to cut jobs to save costs,” adding that, “conservation on the job means preservation of jobs.”
The Ministry has set up an energy monitoring steering committee. Chief Technical Director, Errol Miller, says that among the objectives of the programme is a 15 per cent reduction in energy costs over the next year. The Ministry is also aiming to establish a sustainable energy management programme.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, charges workers at the Ministry to cut cost, during the launch of the Ministry’s conservation programme, ‘Conservation is a plus.Turn it off’, held at the Ministry on North Street, in Kingston, on July 7.
Staff members are being encouraged to turn off lights and electrical appliances, when not in use. The Ministry is also encouraging workers to use the stairs, instead of the elevator, and to save water as far as possible. Workers are also being told to go further in their cost saving measures, by cutting down on phone calls and carpooling when going on official business.
The programme is being undertaken at both the North Street and Heroes Circle offices in the first phase, then it will be expanded to the other parish offices.
Another component was the launch of the energy conservation jingle competition, which was won by Shavana Myers of the North Street office.
Last year, Prime Minister Golding met with Permanent Secretaries from all Ministries, and heads of Government agencies and charged them to set about reducing expenditure, including on energy.
“I have instructed these public sector leaders to reduce expenditure everywhere they can, without reducing the service they must deliver. I expect them to rise to the occasion, and I will meet with them at the end of each quarter to evaluate how well they have performed,” he said then.
Permanent Secretary, Alvin McIntosh, said that in accordance with the Prime Minister’s directive, the Ministry will have to make reports to him every three months on measures they have taken to reduce waste. He also informed managers that they too will be held accountable.
“I will be calling up on you, in your respective areas, to send in reports as to the areas in which you were able to effect savings. So nobody is going to be inactive,” he stated.
Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, reminded the staff that they would not only be saving money that could be used for wages, but that the money they save could also be put into social security programmes.
“We have to recognise that every dollar that we waste is a dollar that could have helped some among the group of our most vulnerable Jamaicans,” he said.