JIS News

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called on public servants in ministries and agencies of government to treat the public with care, respect and compassion as they carry out their duties.
She noted that some public officials tended to be disrespectful to the poor and the vulnerable, a practice which must be stopped.
“Respect people’s time. Quality customer service says: Do it now. Don’t let that senior citizen travel from Kingston all the way back to Watchwell in St Elizabeth when, with a little more effort, you can attend to him or her today,” she urged. The Prime Minister was making her contribution to the 2007/08 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (May 1).
“I therefore call on everyone who works with the state, from members of the security forces to prison warders, to poor relief officers, to customs clerks, to ministries, statutory bodies and agencies, to help change people’s perceptions and experience of dealing with the government,” she said.
The Prime Minister said she would be establishing a Citizens’ Response and Monitoring Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister.
“The staff of this unit will be a jeans and track shoes team, not a jacket and tie team,” the Prime Minister told the House, adding that the staff would be expected to travel across the island “to ensure that speedy actions are taken to deal with the complaints made by citizens.”
Mrs. Simpson Miller encouraged those who “are doing a great job,” to influence their colleagues, “who have not caught the vision”, to realize their obligations to the members of the Jamaican family.
She pointed out that under the public sector modernization programme, ministries and agencies of government were developing citizen’s charters’ and were now becoming more customer focused.
“There are now some fine examples of transformation among executive agencies and other arms of government,” she pointed out.
The Prime Minister said that while public servants needed to remember that they were servants of the people, “that is not to say, that members of the public have the right to treat our public servants with disrespect and behave inappropriately in government offices. That is not acceptable.”
“But we who give service on behalf of the government, have a duty to always be courteous and caring,” she reminded.

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