KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – While Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is pleased with the performance of the local public service, he is concerned about those public servants who are “not pulling their weight”.
He said at the opening ceremony of a meeting of regional heads of Public Service Commissions and cabinet secretaries last week that many procedures in the public service “are not only designed for accountability but deliberately to slow down things”.
“I have no doubts that you will address those and other concerns as you go towards good governance,” Gonsalves said at the opening of two-day meeting, which concluded on Friday, was held under the theme “From Public Sector Reform to Governance”.
“One of the issues in our public services, which we have to look at: why is it that some public servants do not want to pull their weight — a minority of them?” he further stated.
“And we have to find ways because, in these challenging times, … it is the most inefficient and those not endowed with a work ethic which we would approve of in our civilisation, those are the one who tend to be the most mischievous in terms of soon as a piece of paper passes their desk and they feel that it is something which can aid them in perhaps future promotion — because they can’t get the promotion on the basis of merit — they try to see if they can get it on the basis of politics.
“So they run with it to somebody engaged in the politics to put some political credit in the bank for when, in their opinion, a new dispensation may arise and their redemption may be at hand,” he said.
He, however, said that the system does not work like that. “It’s all in your head. And very soon, when you get the office that way and you have no capacity, everybody finds out and then all it does, it hastens the demise of those who had put square pegs in round holes.”
Gonsalves said that this country, under his 11-year-old government, has taken a series of measures to reform the public service, including training, institutional arrangements and rearrangements, and better structure to perform functions.