MINISTER’S STATEMENT – On December 20, 2002, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 23rd of June of each year as United Nations Public Service Day.
This day was created to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community, highlight the contribution of the Public Service in the development process, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the Public Sector.
This year, Saint Lucia is pleased, once again, to join the rest of the world in the observance of Public Service Day, and to use the occasion to salute all Public Sector employees for their invaluable contribution and support, as together we strive to make the Service more relevant, responsive, efficient and productive.
The UN theme for Public Service Day 2014 is “Innovating Governance for Sustainable Development and Well-being of the People”. However,in Saint Lucia, a sub-themewas created entitled “Embracing Innovation for the Hope, Unity and the Sustainable Development of the Public Service”. This revised theme encourages us to work closely together, using our collective ideas and innate creativity, with the goal of creating a Public Service that is viable and responsive to the needs of its clientele.
We are proud of the fact that even with the limited resources at our disposal we have begun to make significant inroads in transforming and modernising our Public Service. Numerous initiatives have been successfully launched. Several in-house training programmes have been executed.A more effective and relevant Performance Management System will soon be adopted and used across the Service. We extended the hours for interacting with Government revenue centres. Payments can now be made using credit and debit cards.
The Division of Public Sector Modernisationhas been particularly active since its formation, with initiatives that include: thecommissioning of Community Access Centres to widen access to electronic information; establishment of a Digitization Centre to convert government documents to digital format that may be more easily retrieved and shared; development of a dynamic Government of Saint Lucia Web Portal that makes accurate and up-to-date information on Government agencies available to a global audience;the roll-out of an Inland Revenue Tax e-filing system that changes the way in which tax payers interact with that department and facilitating an improvement in the operation of the Civil Status Registry.
We are on the brink of opening a 311 Contact Centre that will revolutionize the way in which the public interfaces with, and receives information from the Public Service, and just last week, we signed an agreement with the Taiwanese Government to establish an Electronic Document and Records Management System that will make the authoring, distribution, sharing and management of official government documents more efficient, traceable and cost-effective. Across the Public Service, we have many examples of Public Officers and Government Departments using their resourcefulness to solve problems or improve service delivery.
Our ultimate objective is to have a Public Service that ischaracterized by merit, professionalism, impartiality, integrity, conscientiousness and accountability. As Minister for the Public Service, I want to take this opportunity of the observance of Public Service Day to thank all Public Sector employees for their contribution to the socio-economic development of our country.
Times are challenging, resources are constrained, yet more is expected of each of you. However, I am confident that our Public Service is up to the challenge and I continue to take great pride in the work of the many professional and diligent Public Officers I encounter every day in my departments and in other Government departments. You exemplify what Public Service is all about.
On behalf of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, I wish you a happy and productive Public Service Day 2014. Let us continue to embrace innovation, use our ingenuity and channel our creativity toward the sustainable development of our Public Service.
I thank you.