The government has made some progress in addressing the long-standing problems at the Civil Status Registry and the Adjudicator’s Office.
Several measures have been put in place to cause both immediate and longer-term improvements in the operations of this important government department. Among the steps that have been taken are the following:
* One new adjudicator has been appointed and has commenced work.
* Also, interviews have been completed for another adjudicator and the appointment of this second adjudicator is expected to take place soon. There are plans to appoint a third adjudicator, once the process of recruitment and selection has been completed.
* These three adjudicators will make it possible for the Registry to deal with the backlog of issues in the department and more importantly, vastly increase the number of people who can be attended to by the Adjudicator’s Office on a daily basis.
* Four additional support staff members have been recruited and trained and will commence duties on Monday, September 16, 2013. These additional persons are knowledgeable and long-serving public officers who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the workings of the Registry. They will also complement the existing staff of the Registry, who are currently working extended hours and on weekends to clear up the backlog of outstanding issues in the Civil Status Registry.
* Work has commenced on new premises for the department, which will house all of the units of the Civil Status Registry in one comfortable, spacious location. It is expected that the physical works will be completed within three weeks and that the new premises of the Civil Status Registry will open to serve the public toward the end of October.
* In the meantime, there will be no break in the operations of the Civil Status Registry and the Adjudicator’s Office.
* A new, separate Registrar of Civil Status is being recruited. This will allow for dedicated and focused management of the critical work of this department.
* Ooh Koon Tian, a business process re-engineering expert from Singapore, who has done extensive work in the Caribbean, with the assistance of staff of the Ministry of the Public Service, completed a comprehensive review of all of the business processes in the Civil Status Registry and the allied agencies whose work impacts on the Civil Status Registry, namely the Electoral Department, the Immigration Department and the National Insurance Corporation.
* This review has identified areas where the operations of the Registry may be simplified and streamlined. Koon Tian’s assignment was made possible through funding support from the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Saint Lucia, through the Public Sector Modernization Programme in the Ministry of the Public Service.
* The Attorney General’s Chambers is assisting with a review of pertinent legislation to ensure that any unnecessary legislative impediments or any ambiguous provisions are removed.
* Additional training will soon commence for the staff of the Civil Status Registry in customer service under the Public Sector Modernization Programme.
* An extensive public education programme will start this week, involving the Government Information Service and Radio Saint Lucia, on the requirements for obtaining documents from the Civil Status Registry in order to ensure that the frustrations being encountered by many citizens from not having the correct supporting documentation or not following the right procedure are minimized as much as possible.
The government understands the inconvenience and the frustrations being experienced by the large numbers of Saint Lucians who interact with the Civil Status Registry on a daily basis and wishes to reassure them and the rest of the public that all steps are being taken, as quickly as possible, to make these frustrations and annoyances a thing of the past.