Categorized | Editorial, News

Montserrat public servants are problematic and the whole island will suffer

Editorial – July 27, 2012

The Caribbean Public Services Association 42nd Annual Conference concluded here on Friday evening, after they would have experienced a different Montserrat from the one some of the 125 participants had expected, more because of the volcanic crisis than say, culturally or even economically.

For one thing the topics that the Executive with Paul Lewis, local Civil Service Association president as president outgoing, had planned were according to them very fitting and relevant to their theme , “Public Services Driving Positive Change”. In the Men’s forum their first discussion centered around  the discussion presented by John Skerritt, Financial Secretary, Montserrat, on “Caribbean Public Services – Promoting Economic Growth in times of uncertainty.’’

The Bermuda Public Service Union (BPSU) president presented How the Public Service can contribute to the Development of the Economy and Montserrat DMCA director presented Public Services – Safeguarding national investment through Disaster Risk Reduction.

Meanwhile the Women while pushing the theme, worked at creating a space where they can take their rightful place in meeting the needs to push positive change in their workspace. They would do this by sharing experiences and lessons learnt, identify problems and challenges and make recommendations.

Speak for yourself; It’s a Communication Problem; Taxes, taxes and more taxes; Women’s perspectives on the theme; The Status of Unions Women’s Committees/Groups, were all very hot presentations and gripping discussion topics for women leaders, presidents, general secretaries, PR and Communications officers, industrial relations staff…activists. All of these, with the understanding that, ‘Quality public services are important in all communities.’

At the men’s forum were working sessions on the Public Administration Bill and Regulations about to be enacted in Montserrat. This provided much debate. During the week at the press conference the conference were positioning the Montserrat counterparts to demand more time from the government which would give the Caribbean to assist with advice on areas that they see as detrimental to the Caribbean as a whole. They noted that what happens to one territory often creeps on to the rest.

It seemed a very successful week up to Friday, but there was something very sadly missing at the conference. This was the absence of any significant number Montserrat public servants attending the sessions. The side of the auditorium delegated for was excessively sparse with lack of bodies in the seats. And, other than the Montserrat delegates and all the workers who were commended for the usual Montserrat hospitality, there were hardly any local public servants, all of whom missed out really understanding and appreciating what they have been called upon to do especially with the last 15 years.

It cannot be that they feel they know it all. Who realises, that it is not want of training, but rather the lack of delivery from the training that burdens the island? When the observation was made, past presidents, some of whom (said they were left off the opening invitation list) made up the numbers on opening night. The claim, that there is a bad culture of public servants not participating in the business of the civil service association, citing that although membership dues are paid since it is taken out of salaries, members of the Administration and Finance departments are especially guilty of non-participation.

The absence from what would have been most beneficial to the change, from a theme which seemed to have been well discussed and delivered, and especially that of the new Public Service Act, the immediate future is frightening, and progress will suffer, except of course that this observation is noted and acted upon.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – July 27, 2012

The Caribbean Public Services Association 42nd Annual Conference concluded here on Friday evening, after they would have experienced a different Montserrat from the one some of the 125 participants had expected, more because of the volcanic crisis than say, culturally or even economically.

For one thing the topics that the Executive with Paul Lewis, local Civil Service Association president as president outgoing, had planned were according to them very fitting and relevant to their theme , “Public Services Driving Positive Change”. In the Men’s forum their first discussion centered around  the discussion presented by John Skerritt, Financial Secretary, Montserrat, on “Caribbean Public Services – Promoting Economic Growth in times of uncertainty.’’

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The Bermuda Public Service Union (BPSU) president presented How the Public Service can contribute to the Development of the Economy and Montserrat DMCA director presented Public Services – Safeguarding national investment through Disaster Risk Reduction.

Meanwhile the Women while pushing the theme, worked at creating a space where they can take their rightful place in meeting the needs to push positive change in their workspace. They would do this by sharing experiences and lessons learnt, identify problems and challenges and make recommendations.

Speak for yourself; It’s a Communication Problem; Taxes, taxes and more taxes; Women’s perspectives on the theme; The Status of Unions Women’s Committees/Groups, were all very hot presentations and gripping discussion topics for women leaders, presidents, general secretaries, PR and Communications officers, industrial relations staff…activists. All of these, with the understanding that, ‘Quality public services are important in all communities.’

At the men’s forum were working sessions on the Public Administration Bill and Regulations about to be enacted in Montserrat. This provided much debate. During the week at the press conference the conference were positioning the Montserrat counterparts to demand more time from the government which would give the Caribbean to assist with advice on areas that they see as detrimental to the Caribbean as a whole. They noted that what happens to one territory often creeps on to the rest.

It seemed a very successful week up to Friday, but there was something very sadly missing at the conference. This was the absence of any significant number Montserrat public servants attending the sessions. The side of the auditorium delegated for was excessively sparse with lack of bodies in the seats. And, other than the Montserrat delegates and all the workers who were commended for the usual Montserrat hospitality, there were hardly any local public servants, all of whom missed out really understanding and appreciating what they have been called upon to do especially with the last 15 years.

It cannot be that they feel they know it all. Who realises, that it is not want of training, but rather the lack of delivery from the training that burdens the island? When the observation was made, past presidents, some of whom (said they were left off the opening invitation list) made up the numbers on opening night. The claim, that there is a bad culture of public servants not participating in the business of the civil service association, citing that although membership dues are paid since it is taken out of salaries, members of the Administration and Finance departments are especially guilty of non-participation.

The absence from what would have been most beneficial to the change, from a theme which seemed to have been well discussed and delivered, and especially that of the new Public Service Act, the immediate future is frightening, and progress will suffer, except of course that this observation is noted and acted upon.