You must create the new public service that will take Guyana forward

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Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon

– DG Harmon tells third batch of BCCPS cadets

DIRECTOR-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Mr. Joseph Harmon on Monday charged the third batch of cadets of the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service (BCCPS) to lead the change in the Public service sector, and to deliver all of the required public services that are needed by the citizens in an effective manner.

The Director-General delivered this charge to the cadets at a lecture organised by the College as it prepares to dispatch those who have successfully completed their 11 months of training into the Public Service. Noting that the Public Service College was established as a result of the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service, which pointed to a need for public sector reform, Mr. Harmon said the role of the Public Service has not changed over time, nor is it in need of change. What needs to change, he said, is the attitude and modus operandi of the public servants.

“That role has been, as is, to deliver all the required public services that are needed by our citizens, and essential to the proper functioning of the State and of our society,” he said, adding: “What needs to be changed is the way in which those services are being delivered. The highly politicised way in which this was being done pre-2015 needed to be changed. Delivering services to selected communities for political returns is certainly not the role of the Public service. It is for this reason that a new Public service was envisaged by our administration, one that was accessible, relevant, reliable, resourceful and responsive to the needs of the people, that was equally effective in all regions of Guyana, the coastland and hinterland and in all communities, rural and urban.”

Mr. Harmon said that the new Public Service has to be able to deliver in an administratively neutral manner, and it has to be established firmly on the basis of merit and political impartiality. It must also possess expert knowledge, and a high standard of academic education, he further noted. “In addition, it should consist of men and women of integrity, who are reliable and willing to give advice without fear or favour, partiality or prejudice,” he said. “The process of modernising and transforming the Public Service must make it more responsive, fair, efficient and effective and for this to be achieved; there has to be a concerted effort to enhance the management capacity, administrative efficiency and skills level of all Public servants from the lowest to the highest tier of the public sector workforce,” he added.

ENGINE OF THE EXECUTIVE
It is within this context, the Director- General said, that as cadets, as new entrants to the Public Service, they must understand their roles and functions as the “engine of the executive.”

Graduates of the third batch of cadets of the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service

“This description derives from the fact that there can be no delivery of services to the citizenry by or on behalf of the Government without the Public Service. In all areas such as education, health, security and infrastructure, it is the Public service that must execute programmes of delivery.

You, the new type of public servants, are essential parts of the new model engine of the executive. In this capacity, you are required to play a very crucial role in the development of a renewed and relevant public service. You cannot tell people, ‘come back tomorrow’ or they ‘have to wait’. You must not bring your problems to the workplace and let that dictate how you deal with members of the public,” he said.

Mr. Harmon also told the outgoing cadets that they must be keenly aware that Guyana is a country that is on the cusp of becoming an oil-producing nation and that it will experience unprecedented levels of financial resources for the development of the country. This, he said, means that the Public Service will grow exponentially to administer those resources.
“It means bigger national budgets, mega projects for infrastructural development and an increase in the number of Public services to be delivered to our people. There can therefore, be no doubt that you have very challenging but exciting times ahead. The importance of your continued and continuous training cannot be overstated and I wish to urge you to make full use of all opportunities that are made available to you, to improve your skills. Remember, you are the future administrative and budget agency heads of the Public service; you owe it to yourselves, to the Public service and to the nation, to ensure that you are adequately prepared to take on those responsibilities when the time comes,” the Director General said.

Mr. Harmon then commended the students for the interest they have expressed in serving the Guyanese people. “Your engagement here, in which you have completed six months of academic studies; two months of study tours around Guyana and three months of work attachment to Government Ministries and State Agencies, were all geared to equip you with basic skills, knowledge of the structures and the nature of your intended work environment. This session will enable you to fully appreciate your role and functions within a professional public service with the hallmarks of justice, efficiency, integrity, impartiality and accountability,” he said.

The students will be benefitting from a number of interactive sessions hosted by speakers such as Minister of Public Service, Mrs. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley; Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo; Director, Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe; Guyana Elections Commission Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield and Chairman of the Guyana Public Service Commission, Mr. Michael Sommersall, among others. Fifty-six cadets are expected to graduate from the College on December 12, 2019. (Ministry of the Presidency)