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Georgetown, Guyana – (June 7, 2017) In keeping with its policy to ensure an efficient public service, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, within whose purview the responsibility for the Public Service sector falls, said that the Government will make all the necessary investments to ensure Guyanese benefit from a reliable public service.

The Minister of State was at the time addressing Deputy Permanent Secretaries and Regional Executive Officers (REOs) at the opening of the Caribbean Leadership Training, which will see Permanent Secretaries and senior managers of Government ministries and agencies trained in the areas of service delivery, leadership, administration transition and team building.

During his address, Minister Harmon said that the administration is serious about implementing reforms that will create “a brand new public service”, one which is characterised by fairness, equality, responsiveness, reliability and efficiency. He said that the establishment of the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service is a demonstration of this commitment as entrants are being trained accordingly.

“In Guyana, there was always a need for public service reform and when this Government came into office, one of the earliest things we did was to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI). That COI produced 89 recommendations on what we need to make this public service relevant and what is required in Guyana. Those recommendations, we are working on them, they are a work in progress because they are far reaching and intense. We believe that the new kind of public service, the new quality of public service that we envision requires a certain type of training and part of that training is what you are receiving here today,” he said.

Minister Harmon noted that the process of modernising and transforming the public service to make it more responsive, fair, efficient and effective cannot be over emphasised and it is the duty of both the Government and the public servants to ensure that quality services are offered to every citizen across the country.

“We have ten Administrative Regions and therefore our public servants must understand that they are trained to perform in any region in this country. We are not training public servants for service only in Georgetown. We are training you to serve in any part of this country and so it must take into account the norms of all of the people in this country. The training of our public servants will encompass several things. You must understand your roles and functions because the public service is always described as the engine of the Executive. There can be no delivery of services to the citizenry by the Government without the public service. It is the public servant that must deliver the
Executive’s programmes,” the Minister of State said.

Noting that they are the face of the Government and the persons who have to deal with the citizens on a daily basis, Minister Harmon said that it is even more important that appropriate training takes place frequently for public servants, since it will equip them with the necessary skills and attitudes.

“You are the ones who interact with the public on a daily basis and must see our public infrastructure programmes delivered, our contracts delivered on time, you are the ones who have to hold contractors feet to the fire, you are the ones to whom the public will come and make complaints and you are the ones who have to be properly trained to deal with the issues that come. You are the people who have to ensure that the policies are carried out and you are the ones who have to answer to the National Assembly. I trust that you understand the importance of your job and the reason why we have to invest in you and why as a Government we are investing heavily in the training of public servants. If we are going to respond to the needs of our citizens then we must train our public servants, we must make you responsive,” Minister Harmon said.

Mr. Reginald Brotherson, Head of the Public Service and Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Service, in his brief remarks, said that Guyana is always taking the opportunity during these events to benefit from the expertise of the Caribbean Leadership Programme facilitators. He noted that it is expected that new attitudes and behaviours will be developed in the public service.

“Last year our Permanent Secretaries were trained and we have seen a transformative approach in their attitudes since we have had that programme. So we thought it best at the Department of Public Service, to once again focus on the Deputy Permanent Secretaries and the Regional Executive Officers who we feel are very important partners in the whole development process in the Ministries. We expect from this training, a certain level of change and of new behaviour, new thinking and when we have these programmes, we want to see the new public service,” he said.

Regional Project Manager of the Caribbean Leadership Project (CLP), Dr. Lois Parkes, in her remarks said that public service leaders in the respective Caribbean countries must be exposed to sustainable leadership development training, given the current dynamic work environment where multiple and complex issues confront them daily.

“The Caribbean Leadership Project came out of a recognition that we needed to develop a new crop of leaders who have the capacity, self-confidence and courage to lead in these very complex environments that we have to lead in. The overall purpose of this LDP is to support public service leaders in developing their capacity to contribute more effectively to regional integration, economic growth and gender-sensitive public sector reforms,” she said.

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