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Saturday 15 August, 2020

President Weekes calls on public service to step up

President Paula-Mae Weekes urged public servants to step up and improve on the level of service given out to citizens.

Speaking at the President’s Awards for Service Excellence and Innovation in the Public Sector on December 5, 2018, Weekes said the public sector has a reputation for ineptitude, inefficiency and stagnation, which is alarming. 

"Our public institutions are the platforms upon which the people of Trinidad and Tobago are served and the bridge between citizen and government. They should be functional, modern and well-run."

"Our Public Service has earned an invidious reputation for ineptitude, inefficiency and stagnation. While no one doubts that there are pools of competence within the service, the overall impression is disheartening and alarming."

"Alarming because our economic climate, our international partners, the reasonable increasing demands of our population and technological advances all require that it be efficient, sophisticated and responsive to the needs of those it serves. It is high time that we eradicate this stigma,' she said.

Weekes urged the public sector to commit to better service delivery which forms part of the country's mandate to fulfil the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGSs) for a more resilient socio-economic structure. 

She said Trinidad and Tobago's public sector must be an exemplar of excellence in service delivery.

"The Public Sector must therefore become an exemplar of excellence in service delivery, with the capacity to manage the technological, social and economic changes that have, and will continue, to take place. Trinidad and Tobago cannot be left behind in the global march to progress, and good leadership and innovation are two prerequisites for that journey."

"Our institutions will prosper if they are led by those with the unambiguous understanding that if one is to lead, one must also serve, and sometimes that requires a suppression of the ego."

"It is often said that the first step of any endeavour is the most difficult. I beg to disagree. Having participated in my share of endurance races over the years, I can tell you that the true testing usually comes long after the sound of the whistle, when down the road you hit the wall and lethargy, weariness and frustration set in. Even when the finish line is in sight, it takes a combination of resolution of mind and recharging of body to reach it. And in Public Sector Transformation, the marathon has a moving finish line with which we must keep stride.

"One notorious energy sapper is the resistance to change in some members of an organisation. This may be caused by burnout, lassitude or fear of the unfamiliar. It is often the case that progress is stymied because of unwillingness of individuals to subscribe to the requirements of a new environment," she said. 

She invited the public to modernise their businesses and the service industry in order to take the country forward.

"Some of you have ideas for radical change in the way you do business. Inspired by the examples of our fellow public servants, let us hasten to the drawing board, summon our most creative selves and, with the available resources, craft viable programmes and solutions that meet the needs of our clients, the public."

"As the public servant-in-chief I speak to other public servants and say the ball is now in our court, don’t be left behind. I look forward to your participation in the next iteration of this competition. The bar has certainly been set high, I challenge you to surpass the achievements that we applaud this evening," she said. 


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