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The Consultation Code of Practice for the Public Sector, cited as a road map that the people of Jamaica have set for the transformation of the public service, was officially launched at the Terra Nova Hotel yesterday (Nov. 22).
Delivering the main address at the launch, Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman said the Consultation Code represented “part of a continuum of involving Jamaicans more effectively in the process of governance and giving better service to the people who have entrusted us policymakers, administrators and implementers with the responsibility of managing the nation’s resources in the best possible manner.”
He highlighted the fact that citizen’s charters, Access to Information centres, the Jamaica Social Policy Evaluation (JASPEV), and even the reformatting of the blue pages of the nation’s telephone directory, were all evidence of the efforts being made to improve the transparency of government.
In the broader policy environment, the Senator added, “the opening of the committees of Parliament to the media and the public, as well as our facilitation and encouragement of press freedom, for which we have a good reputation internationally, coupled with a liberal broadcasting licence policy have helped to give people not only information about the workings of government, but a voice in public affairs.”
In addition to the launch of the Consultation Code, the ceremony also saw 54 public sector workers being awarded certificates. The workers were trained as consultation liaison officers, and equipped with the capacity to facilitate the public with access to information.
“I congratulate all who have led and participated in the process of modernisation, and commend you and those who follow you, as the standard bearers of the new approaches for the difference you will bring to the business of democratic governance in our country,” the Information Minister said. In respect of members of the public who might require information, Minister Whiteman said such persons should know how and where to access it.
“Users of information should have confidence in the reliability of their sources, the timeliness of information is also important if it is to be of much use,” he said, adding that in developing the consultation policy, sharing information was a critical factor before any final decisions were made.