Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has challenged Cabinet secretaries and heads of the public service in the Commonwealth Caribbean to set examples in their professional lives so others in the service may be inspired and motivated.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Caribbean Cabinet Secretaries and Heads of Public Service Consultative Meeting, currently underway at Coconut Bay Hotel in Vieux Fort, the prime minister said that this was “a testing time for leadership” in regional public services as governments have been “forced to implement austerity measures”.
These measures, he added, “have severe implications for the public service as governments seek to cut or contain expenditure in reducing their fiscal deficits”. Notwithstanding these challenges, the prime minister told the Cabinet secretaries that “as the leaders of the public service, you must have conviction; you must be anchored to the values of integrity, excellence and professionalism. As leaders, you must set the example for others to follow.
“You must have the courage to provide bold, passionate leadership in setting direction and vision for the whole of government. As heads of the public service, your ability to inspire and align public officers with the vision and strategic direction of the government will make a significant difference in the way the public service contributes to the development of the welfare of our nations.”
In his address, Dr. Anthony also highlighted the need to foster greater collaboration within the public service so as to maximize efficiency and equip the public sector to be better placed to deal with the extraordinary challenges of the times.
The prime minister further stated: “Many of the issues we face in the public service are cross-cutting. For example, health problems that are being addressed by the Ministry of Health may have implications for education, youth, and social transformation. This means we must foster a collaborative approach in dealing with challenges in the public service. We need to get departments and agencies to work more closely in developing government wide solutions to our public service problems. The tendency is for government ministries and departments to work in silos.
“The need to preserve one’s turf is at the heart of organizational politics in the public service. We must therefore get agencies to consider the wider implications of its own policies beyond its mandate and to work across organizational boundaries to deliver a suite of solutions that best meet our needs. This will require closer policy coordination by the centre of government.”
The prime minister, who described the post of Cabinet secretary as a “pre-eminent” position, reminded those present of the importance of their posts and their responsibility to champion the changes required in developing a modern, relevant, responsive, efficient, affective, accountable, service-oriented and dynamic public service, fit for meeting the extraordinary challenges that confront the peoples of the region.